Evans, Richard (DNB00)

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EVANS, RICHARD (1784–1871), portrait-painter and copyist, was for some years pupil and assistant to Sir Thomas Lawrence, for whom he painted drapery and backgrounds and made replicas of his works. He also made copies after Nash and other artists. He resided for many years in Rome, copying pictures by the old masters and painting portraits. He also tried his hand at fresco-painting, and on quitting Rome gave one of his attempts in that line to the servant who swept out his studio. Years afterwards he was surprised to find this hanging in South Kensington Museum as a genuine antique fresco from a tomb in the neighbourhood of Rome. In 1814 he visited the Louvre in Paris, and was one of the first Englishmen to copy the pictures then collected there. He exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy in 1816, sending a portrait of Mr. Sadler, the aeronaut, and was a frequent exhibitor up to 1859, principally of portraits. He continued to paint up to the end of his life, and executed a large picture of ‘The Death of Æsculapius’ when over 85 years of age. He died at Southampton, where he had resided for more than a quarter of a century, in November 1871, aged 87. Evans had great powers of memory, and had many anecdotes of Lawrence and other famous artists. His extensive knowledge of art was of great use to the founders of the Original School of Design at Somerset House in 1837. During his residence at Rome he made a collection of casts from antique statuary, some of which he presented to the Hartley Institute, Southampton. The copies of the Raphael arabesques which are in the South Kensington Museum are by Evans. In the National Portrait Gallery there are by him portraits of Sir Thomas Lawrence (from a picture by himself), Lord Thurlow (from a picture by Lawrence), and Thomas Taylor, the Platonist.

[Art Journal, 1872, p. 75; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760–1880; Catalogues of Royal Academy, &c.]

L. C.