Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Tillemans, Peter

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TILLEMANS, PETER (1684–1734), painter and draughtsman, born at Antwerp in 1684, was son of a diamond-cutter, but studied landscape-painting when young. He was brother-in-law to Peter Casteels [q. v.], and in 1708 the two young men were brought over to England by a dealer named Turner. By him they were employed in copying the works of popular masters, such as Teniers, Borgognone, and others, which Tillemans did with great skill. At last becoming known to amateurs and persons of quality, he was constantly employed to paint views of country seats with figures and buildings, or landscapes with sporting subjects, such as horses and dogs. A fine view of Chatsworth by Tillemans is preserved there. At Thoresby House, Nottinghamshire, there is a large painting by Tillemans, dated 1725, of the second Duke of Kingston and others on a shooting party. At Knowsley House there are some views of Newmarket and the racecourse by Tillemans, and many similar subjects have been engraved. He executed several drawings of Newstead Abbey for William, lord Byron, who was his pupil in drawing. When Kneller's academy was opened in Great Queen Street in 1711, Tillemans was one of the first pupils to attend. He was employed with Joseph Goupy [q. v.] to paint a series of scenes for the opera-house in the Haymarket. So highly esteemed was Tillemans as a topographical draughtsman, that his services were retained by John Bridges (1666–1724) [q. v.], author of the ‘History of Northamptonshire,’ to make all the drawings for that work; these amounted to about five hundred, all executed in Indian ink, for which Bridges gave him a guinea a day and the run of his house. Tillemans resided for some years at Richmond in Surrey. His services were also retained for some time by Dr. Cox Macro [q. v.] of Norton Haugh in Suffolk, where he died on 5 Dec. 1734; he was buried in the neighbouring church of Stowlangtoft, near Bury St. Edmunds. He etched a number of his own views and designs himself. He formed a collection of popular masters which was sold by auction, together with a number of his own works, at Covent Garden on 19–20 April 1733 (Catalogue of a Collection of Curious Paintings of Mr. Peter Tillemans).

A portrait of Tillemans was engraved for Walpole's ‘Anecdotes of Painting’ (ed. 1798).

[Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, ed. Wornum; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Nichols's Literary Anecdotes, viii. 682, ix. 364.]

L. C.