Gribelin, Simon (DNB00)

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GRIBELIN, SIMON (1661–1733), line engraver, appears to have been a son of Jacob Gribelin, an engraver, who died at Paris in 1676. He was born at Blois in 1661, and after having acquired the art of engraving in Paris, came to England about 1680. There is a view of the Old Trinity Hospital at Deptford engraved by him in 1701, but his first work of importance was a copy of Gerard Edelinck's fine engraving of 'Alexander entering the Tent of Darius,' after Le Brun, published in 1707. In the same year he completed a set of seven small plates of the cartoons of Raphael, with a title-page composed of a sectional view of the apartment at Hampton Court in which they were then placed, and a circular portrait of Queen Anne. This series, not having been published before as a whole, met with great success, but the plates are on too small a scale to do justice to the originals. Soon afterwards he engraved a frontispiece and vignettes for a translation by Elizabeth Elstob [q. v.] of 'An English-Saxon Homily on the Birth-Day of St. Gregory' (1709), and within an initial letter he placed a neatly executed portrait of the translator. In 1712 he published six engravings from the following pictures in the royal collection at Kensington Palace: ‘Hercules between Virtue and Vice,’ after Paolo de Matteis; ‘The Adoration of the Shepherds,’ after Palma Vecchio; ‘Esther fainting before Ahasuerus,’ and ‘The Nine Muses in Olympus,’ after Tintoretto; ‘The Birth of Jupiter and Juno’ (or rather ‘The Birth of Apollo and Diana’), after Giulio Romano; and ‘The Judgment of Midas,’ after Andrea Schiavone. But his most important work was a large engraving on three plates, finished in 1730, of ‘The Apotheosis of James I,’ from the painting by Rubens on the ceiling of the banquetting house at Whitehall. None of his plates, however, give any adequate idea of the style of the masters from whom they are copied, and, as Vertue remarks, ‘at best are neat memorandums.’ He also engraved some portraits, among which are those of William III and Queen Mary, after Fowler; William, duke of Gloucester, after Sir Godfrey Kneller; Frederick, duke of Schomberg; James, duke of Ormonde, after Dahl; Sir William Dawes, archbishop of York, after Clostermann; and a small full-length of Anthony, third earl of Shaftesbury, after the same painter, for the edition of the ‘Characteristics’ issued in 1714. There is also by him a set of thirty-seven plates of designs for goldsmith's work, as well as a large number of vignettes and head- and tail-pieces for the decoration of books. Gribelin died in Long Acre, London, on 18 Jan. 1733, aged seventy-two, from a cold caught in going to see the king in the House of Lords. There is in the British Museum a volume of all his smaller plates, collected by himself, which was formerly in the possession of George Vertue.

Gribelin had a son who was an engraver, and went as a draughtsman to Turkey in the suite of George Hay,seventh earl of Kinnoull [q.v.]

[Vertue's Cat. of Engravers, 1765, p. 118; Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, ed. Wornum, 1849, iii. 964; Bryan's Dict. of Painters and Engravers, ed. Graves, 1886-9, i. 601.]

R. E. G.