Simpson, John (1782-1847) (DNB00)

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SIMPSON, JOHN (1782–1847), portrait-painter, born in London in 1782, was a student at the Royal Academy and for some years an assistant to Sir Thomas Lawrence, P.R.A. He obtained some success as a portrait-painter, and eventually a very large practice. From 1807 to his death he was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy and other exhibitions. In 1834 he received a commission to go to Portugal, and painted portraits at Lisbon, where he was appointed painter to the queen of Portugal. Simpson was rather a skilful portraitist than an artist. His portraits are not without power, but lack instinct and penetration. One of John Burnet [q. v.], the engraver, is in the National Portrait Gallery. William IV and many notable persons in his day sat to him. Simpson died at Carlisle House, Soho, in 1847. He left two sons, who practised as artists, of whom Charles Simpson died young in 1848, having contributed a few landscapes to the London exhibitions. The other, Philip Simpson, was a student at the Royal Academy, and obtained some success for small domestic subjects from 1824 to 1857. One of these, called ‘I will fight,’ exhibited in Suffolk Street in 1824, is in the Townshend collection at the South Kensington Museum.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Graves's Dict. of Artists; catalogues of the South Kensington Museum, National Portrait Gallery, &c.]

L. C.