Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Simon, John (1675?-1751)

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SIMON, JOHN (1675?–1751), engraver, was born in Normandy of a Huguenot family about 1675, and studied line engraving in Paris, where he executed some good plates. Coming as a refugee to England early in the reign of Queen Anne, he took up mezzotint, which was then almost exclusively in vogue here, and practised it with great success. He rivalled John Smith (1652–1742) [q. v.] in the number and quality of his plates, which were chiefly portraits of royal and other distinguished personages, from pictures by Kneller, Dahl, Gibson, Murray, Mercier, Seeman, and others. He also scraped a set of plates from Raphael's cartoons and many others of biblical, historical, and fancy subjects after Laguerre, Watteau, Barocci, and Rosalba. Simon published some of his prints himself at different addresses about Covent Garden, and also worked for Cooper, Overton, Bowles, and other printsellers. His plates are less brilliant than those by Smith, the grounds being less finely laid, but they are highly artistic in execution and excellent translations of the originals. He worked until about 1742, and died on 22 Sept. 1751.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Smith's British Mezzotinto Portraits; Vertue's manuscript Collections in Brit. Mus. vol. ii. f. 15.]

F. M. O'D.