Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Grimaldi, William

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GRIMALDI, WILLIAM (1751–1830), miniature-painter, born in the parish of St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, on 26 Aug. 1751, was son of Alexander Grimaldi and Esther Barton his wife, and great-grandson of Alessandro Maria Grimaldi, the heir and representative of the noble Genoese family of Grimaldi, who settled in England after the bombardment of Genoa in 1684. Grimaldi was nephew of Thomas Worlidge [q. v.], to whom in 1764 he was bound apprentice for seven years. He remained with Mrs. Worlidge after his uncle's death, and assisted in the publication in 1768 of Worlidge's 'Antique Gems.' On completing his apprenticeship Grimaldi started life as a miniature-painter, practising exclusively in water-colours up to 1785, when he made some essays in enamel-painting. From 1777 to 1783 he was in Paris. He attracted the notice of Sir Joshua Reynolds, many of whose works, notably his 'Master Bunbury,' Grimaldi copied in miniature; Reynolds recommended him to many persons of distinction, including the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York. For the former he painted a miniature of Mrs. Fitzherbert, and for the latter a miniature of the duke, which was presented to the duchess on their marriage. In 1790 he was appointed enamel painter to the Duke of York, in 1791 to the Duchess of York, and in 1804 to the Prince of Wales. Grimaldi practised in the country as well as in London, but in 1825 settled at 16 Upper Ebury Street, Chelsea, where he died 27 May 1830, and was buried in Bunhill Fields cemetery. He married, 13 Nov. 1783, Frances, daughter of Louis Barker of Rochester, by whom he was father of Stacey Grimaldi, F.S.A. [q. v.] Grimaldi was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy from 1786 to 1824. His miniatures are principally executed in water-colour. In 1873 the Rev. A. B. Grimaldi published 'A Catalogue, Chronological and Descriptive, of the Paintings, Drawings, and Engravings by and after William Grimaldi, R.A., Paris, Enamel-Painter Extraordinary to George IV.'

[Miscellaneous writings of Stacey Grimaldi, F.S.A.; Gent. Mag. 1830, i. 566; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; information from the Rev. A. B. Grimaldi.]

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