Faber, John (1660?-1721) (DNB00)

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FABER, JOHN, the elder (1660?–1721), draughtsman and mezzotint engraver, a native of the Hague, born about 1660, is usually stated to have settled in England about 1687, bringing with him his son, John Faber [q. v.], then about three years of age. It seems, however, more probable that he did not come until about 1698, for Vertue notes a portrait by him executed at the Hague in 1692, and in the print room at the British Museum there is a small portrait of the younger Faber, as a child of under ten years of age, executed by his father in December 1704. Faber was especially noted for the small portraits which he drew from the life on vellum with a pen; there are other examples in the print room, including one of Simon Episcopius. In 1707 Faber was settled in the Strand, near the Savoy, where he kept a print-shop, and practised as a mezzotint engraver, in which art he gained some proficiency. He engraved many portraits from the life, among them being those of Bishop Atterbury, John Caspar, Count Bothmer, Bishop Hough, Dr. Sacheverell, and others, besides numerous portraits of dissenting clergy. In 1712 he was employed at Oxford to engrave a set of the portraits of the founders of the colleges; this was followed by a similar set of portraits at Cambridge, making forty-five in all. To his visit to Oxford were due the engraved portraits of Samuel Butler, Charles I, Geoffrey Chaucer, Duns Scotus, John Hevelius, Ben Jonson, and others. He also engraved various sets of portraits, such as ‘12 Ancient Philosophers,’ after Rubens, ‘The Four Indian Kings’ (1710), and ‘The 21 Reformers.’ He died at Bristol in May 1721. His engravings, though rather stiffly executed, are much prized, but his fame was overshadowed by that of his son.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; J. Chaloner Smith's British Mezzotinto Portraits; Dodd's manuscript History of English Engravers; Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, ed. Dallaway and Wornum.]

L. C.