Ferg, Francis Paul (DNB00)

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FERG, FRANCIS PAUL [FRANZ DE PAULA] (1689–1740), painter, born in Vienna, 2 May 1689, was son of an artist, Pancraz Ferg, from whom he received his first instructions in art. His father placed him under an inferior painter of the name of Baschueber, with whom he remained four years. He returned to his father's house, and became a student of the engravings of Callot and Le Clerc, whose peculiarities were of great influence in forming his style. He then studied at Vienna under Hans Graaf, a painter of small landscapes with figures, fairs, &c., but more permanently under Joseph Orient, a well-known landscape-painter, in whose house he lived for three years, and often painted the figures for him in his landscapes. In 1718 he left for Vienna and settled for some years at Bamberg. Meeting with the landscape-painter Alexander Thiele at Leipzig, he went with him to Dresden, and worked for some time with him there. He soon gained a great reputation for small landscapes and sea-pieces with figures, and for fairs and peasant scenes in the style of Ostade, Berchem, and Poelenburg. These were executed, often on copper, with great care and industry, well coloured and exquisitely finished. He eventually came to London and settled there. Here, though he found plenty of employment, he drifted into depressed circumstances, which were rendered worse by an imprudent marriage. His works were no sooner executed than they were hurried off to the pawnbroker. One night in 1740 he was found dead in the street, not far from his lodgings, in a condition of great destitution. He was one of the artists employed in the Chelsea china manufactory. His pictures are frequently met with in private collections in England and in public galleries abroad, notably Brunswick, Dresden, and Vienna. A set of the ‘Four Seasons’ was engraved by T. Major, and others by F. Vivares, J. Wagner, C. G. Geyser, and others, including two pictures engraved in the ‘Galerie Lebrun.’ Ferg also executed some etchings of great merit, mostly landscapes of a small size with figures and ruins; also a larger plate of ‘Boors Carousing,’ in the style of Ostade. These are among the Sheepshanks collection in the print room at the British Museum. A portrait of him was engraved by J. F. Bause.

[Descamps' Vie des Peintres, iv. 269; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Bryan's Dict. of Painters and Engravers; Nagler's Monogrammisten, vol. ii. No. 2088; J. T. Smith's Nollekens and his Times, ii. 232; Catalogues of the Galleries at Dresden, Vienna, &c.]

L. C.