Patten, George (DNB00)

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PATTEN, GEORGE (1801–1865), portrait and historical painter, born on 29 June 1801, was son of William Patten, a miniature-painter, whose works were exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1791 and 1844, and who died on 22 Aug. 1843. He received his early training in art from his father, and in 1816 became a student in the Royal Academy, where he first exhibited a miniature of his father in 1819. In 1828 he took the unusual course of again entering the schools of the academy, in order that he might make himself proficient in oil-painting, the practice of which he adopted in 1830, in preference to that of miniature-painting. In 1837 he went to Italy, visiting Rome, Venice, and Parma; and on his return to England he was elected an associate of the Royal Academy. Early in 1840 he went to Germany to paint a portrait of Prince Albert, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy, and engraved by Charles Eden Wagstaff. He was afterwards appointed portrait-painter in ordinary to the Prince Consort, and obtained a considerable amount of patronage in the painting of presentation portraits, many of which appeared in the exhibitions of the Royal Academy. Among these were portraits of Richard Cobden, Lord Francis Egerton (afterwards Earl of Ellesmere), Dr. Hugh M'Neile, the Hon. and Rev. Baptist W. Noel, and Paganini the violinist, exhibited in 1833, and remarkable as having been the only portrait ever painted of the famous musician. He exhibited his own portrait in 1858. He painted also a number of mythological and fancy, and a few scriptural, subjects, among which were ‘A Nymph and Child,’ exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1831; ‘A Bacchante’ in 1833; ‘Maternal Affection’ and ‘Cymon and Iphigenia’ in 1834; ‘Bacchus and Ino’ in 1836; ‘The Passions,’ suggested by the well-known ode by Collins, in 1838; ‘Hymen burning the Arrows of Cupid’ and ‘Eve’ in 1842; ‘Dante's Descent with Virgil to the Inferno’ in 1843; ‘The Madness of Hercules’ in 1844; ‘The Mouse's Petition’ in 1845; ‘Pandora’ in 1846; ‘Cupid taught by the Graces’ and ‘Flora and Zephyrus’ in 1848; ‘The Destruction of Idolatry in England’ in 1849; ‘Susannah and the Elders’ and ‘Bacchus discovering the use of the Grape’ in 1850; ‘Love defending Beauty from the Assaults of Time’ in 1851; ‘Apollo and Clytie’ in 1857; ‘The Bower of Bliss’ in 1858; ‘The Prophet Isaiah’ in 1860; and ‘The Youthful Apollo preparing to en- gage in a musical contest with Paris,’ the last of his exhibited works, in 1864. Several of these appeared also at the British Institution, together with ‘Returning Home,’ in 1833; ‘A Bacchante’ in 1834; ‘Venus caressing her favourite Dove’ in 1836; a ‘Wood-Nymph’ in 1838; ‘The Graces’ in 1840; and ‘Bacchus consoling Ariadne for the Loss of Theseus’ in 1841. They were painted with a good deal of spirit, but his later works did not fulfil his earlier promise.

During the latter part of his life Patten resided at Goodrich Cross, Ross, Herefordshire, but before his death he returned to Winchmore Hill, Middlesex, and died suddenly at Hill House, his residence there, on 11 March 1865, aged sixty-three.

[Art Journal, 1865, p. 139; Sandby's Hist. of the Royal Academy of Arts, 1862, ii. 211; Royal Academy Exhibition Catalogues, 1819–1864; British Institution Exhibition Catalogues (Living Artists), 1832–43.]

R. E. G.