Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Livesay, Richard

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LIVESAY, RICHARD (d. 1823?), portrait and landscape painter, was a pupil of Benjamin West, and commenced his career in London, exhibiting for the first time at the Royal Academy in 1776. Between 1777 and 1785 he lodged with Hogarth's widow in Leicester Fields, and executed for her a series of facsimiles of drawings by Hogarth, among them the seven illustrating the well-known ‘Tour,’ published in 1782. Being engaged by West to copy pictures at Windsor, Livesay went to reside there about 1790, and gave lessons in drawing to some of the royal children. While at Windsor he was much employed in painting portraits of young Etonians, generally small whole-lengths, and an interesting picture by him of ‘Eton Boys going to Montem’ is in the possession of the college, to which it was presented by the Duke of Newcastle in 1891. In 1796, having been appointed drawing-master to the Royal Naval College at Portsmouth, Livesay removed to Portsea; there he painted some of the English warships and their French prizes, and in 1800 published a set of four plates of the reviews of the Isle of Wight volunteers, aquatinted by Wells. On an address card which he issued at that time he described himself as ‘Portrait, Landscape, and Marine Painter, Drawing-Master to the Royal Academy, Portsmouth, 61 Hanover Street, Portsea.’ Livesay painted a large picture of the review of the Hertfordshire volunteers by the king in Hatfield Park, 13 June 1800, which was engraved by J. C. Stadler, and now hangs in Lord Salisbury's town house, 20 Arlington Street. Livesay was an exhibitor at the Royal Academy of portraits and domestic subjects up to 1821; his ‘Genius and Industry,’ ‘Cottage Spinsters,’ and ‘Young Foresters’ were mezzotinted by G. Dawe and J. Murphy, and his portraits of Queen Charlotte, Dr. Willis, George Byng, M.P., Dr. Fothergill, Sir Thomas Louis, bart., and others, have been engraved. His portrait of the Earl of Charlemont is in the National Portrait Gallery. Livesay is said to have died at Southsea about 1823, but the fact is not recorded in the burial registers of Portsmouth or Portsea.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760–1880; Holland's Catalogue of Pictures at Hatfield House, 1891; Anderdon's Royal Academy Catalogues in Brit. Mus. vol. iv. No. 1556.]

F. M. O'D.