Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Nash, Joseph

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NASH, JOSEPH (1809–1878), water-colour painter and lithographer, son of the Rev. Okey Nash, who kept the Manor House School at Croydon, was born at Great Marlow, Buckinghamshire, on 17 Dec. 1809. He was educated by his father, and at the age of twenty-one commenced the study of architecture under the elder Pugin [see Pugin, Augustus, (1762–1832)], whom he accompanied to France, and for whose work, ‘Paris and its Environs,’ 1830, he made some of the drawings. In the early stage of his career Nash was much occupied on figure subjects illustrating the poets and novelists, and exhibited many drawings of that class with the Society of Painters in Water-Colours, of which he was elected an associate in 1834; of these some were engraved for the ‘Keepsake,’ and similar publications. But he earned celebrity by his picturesque views of late Gothic buildings, English and foreign, which he enlivened with figures grouped to illustrate the habits of their owners in bygone days, somewhat in the manner of Cattermole. Having at an early period mastered the art of lithography, Nash utilised it in the production of several excellent publications; his ‘Architecture of the Middle Ages’ appeared in 1838, and between 1839 and 1849 his great work, in four series, ‘Mansions of England in the Olden Time,’ which was highly successful, and has maintained its reputation. In 1846 he lithographed Wilkie's ‘Oriental Sketches,’ and in 1848 a set of views of Windsor Castle from his own drawings. Other works to which Nash contributed were Lawson's ‘Scotland Delineated,’ 1847–54, ‘Comprehensive Pictures of the Great Exhibition of 1851,’ McDermot's ‘The Merrie Days of England,’ 1858–9, and ‘English Ballads,’ 1864. He became a full member of the Water-Colour Society in 1842, and was a constant exhibitor up to 1875, sending many of the original drawings for the above publications, with occasionally subjects from Shakespeare, &c. In his views of buildings Nash aimed chiefly at picturesque effect, paying little attention to structural detail; he followed James Duffield Harding [q. v.] in his free use of body colour, and his lithographs are executed in the tinted style made popular by that artist. He died at Hereford Road, Bayswater, London, 19 Dec. 1878, having a few months before been granted a civil-list pension of 100l. His only son, Joseph, is a painter of marine subjects, and has been a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water-Colours since 1886. The South Kensington Museum possesses some examples of Nash's art.

[Roget's Hist. of the Old Water-Colour Society, 1891, ii. 240; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Universal Cat. of Books on Art; Great Marlow parish register.]

F. M. O'D.