Glover, John (1767-1849) (DNB00)

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GLOVER, JOHN (1767–1849), landscape-painter, son of a small farmer, was born at Houghton-on-the-Hill, Leicestershire, on 18 Feb. 1767. He profited so well by plain education as to be appointed master (one account says writing-master) of the free school at Appleby in 1786. From a boy he had been fond of drawing, and in 1794 he removed to Lichfield, and set up as an artist and drawing-master. He is said to have been entirely self-taught, and he soon began to paint in oils and to etch. He quickly attracted admiration, and in 1805 was one of the original members of the (now Royal) Society of Painters in Water-colours. In this year he came to London, when he took up his residence at 61 Montagu Square. From 1805 to 1813 he contributed 182 works to the exhibitions of the society, and ultimately became one of the most fashionable drawing-masters of the day. Though his method was based on that of William Payne [q. v.], the style of his execution was entirely his own. A critic writing in 1824 states that it 'excited increasing curiosity and a desire of imitation in a thousand admirers. The apparently careless scumbling of black and grey, the absence of defined forms, the distinct unbroken patches of yellow, orange, green, red, brown, &c., which upon close inspection made up the foreground, middlegrounds, and off-skip in his compositions, seemed entirely to preclude all necessity for the labour of previous study.' One of his most dexterous devices was the twisting of camel-hair brushes together and spreading their hairs so as to produce rapid imitation of foliage. He was very clever also in his aerial perspective and in effects of sunbeams striking through clouds and trees. He went to Paris in 1814, and while there painted in the Louvre a large landscape composition, which attracted the attention of Louis XVIII at the Paris exhibition of that year. This picture, for which the king granted him a gold medal, was exhibited at the Watercolour Society's exhibition in 1817, under the title of 'Landscape Composition.'

In 1815 Glover was elected president of the Water-colour Society, but was not re-elected in the following year. He went to Paris again in 1815, and afterwards to Switzerland and Italy, bringing home portfolios full of sketches, from which he painted some large pictures in oil. Owing, it is said, to his advocacy, the Society of Water-colours for a few years (1816-20) admitted oil-pictures to their exhibitions. Several of Glover's works in oil brought large prices. Lord Durham gave 500l. for his view of 'Durham Cathedral,' which is now at Lambton Castle. Though his art was generally confined to landscape, with an occasional sea picture, he sent to the society's exhibition in 1817 a composition of cattle with a life-size bull, a picture of goats, and two pieces of sculpture, one of a cow and the other of an ass and foal, modelled from nature. In 1818 he withdrew from the society in order to be a candidate for the honours of the Royal Academy. Hitherto he had rarely contributed to the exhibitions of the Academy, but he now sent seven pictures, all of scenery in England and Wales, and in the next year five, four of which were Italian in subject. But his hopes were disappointed, and the year after (1820) he did not send anything to the Academy, but held an exhibition in Old Bond Street of his works in oil and water-colour. In 1824 he was one of the founders of the Society of British Artists. To the exhibitions of this society he contributed till 1830, and he remained a member of it till his death.

It had been his intention to retire to Ullswater, where he had purchased a house and some land, but in 1831 he emigrated to the Swan River settlement (now Western Australia). He sent home some pictures of colonial scenery, but they did not attract purchasers. He died at Launceston, Tasmania, on 9 Dec. 1849, aged 82, having spent his later years in reading, chiefly religious works.

Glover was an artist of considerable skill and originality, especially in the rendering of transparent aerial effects, and although his style became mannered, he deserves to be honourably remembered among the founders of the English school of water-colours and the modern school of landscape. His skill in oil-painting was also considerable, and the National Gallery has recently acquired an excellent example of his work in this medium by the bequest of Mrs. Elizabeth Vaughan ('Landscape with Cattle,' No. 1186 in the catalogue). Examples of his skill are also to be seen at the British and South Kensington Museums.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists, 1878; Redgraves' Century of Painters; Somerset House Gazette, i. 132; Annals of the Fine Arts, 1817, p. 81; Mag. of the Fine Arts, i. 312, &c.; Portfolio, August 1888; Bryan's Dict. of Painters (Graves); Cat. of National Gallery, British School, 1888].

C. M.