Smith, John (1749-1831) (DNB00)

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SMITH, JOHN (1749–1831), watercolour-painter, known as ‘Warwick’ Smith, was born at Irthington, Cumberland, in 1749, and educated at St. Bees. Becoming known as a skilful topographical draughtsman, he was employed upon Middiman's ‘Select Views in Great Britain,’ and obtained the patronage of the Earl of Warwick, with whom he visited Italy about 1783; hence he came to be styled ‘Warwick’ and ‘Italian’ Smith. In his subsequent works, which were largely views in Italy, he gradually abandoned the simple tinting to which watercolour work had hitherto been limited for a more effective mode of colouring, the novelty and beauty of which created much admiration. Smith joined the Watercolour Society in 1805, and was a large contributor to its exhibitions from 1807 to 1823, when he resigned his membership; he was elected president in 1814, 1817, and 1818, secretary in 1816, and treasurer in 1819, 1821, and 1822. Of his engraved works, which are numerous, the most important are: ‘Select Views in Italy,’ 1792–6; ‘Views of the Lakes of Cumberland,’ twenty aquatints by Merigot, 1791–5; and illustrations to Byrne's ‘Britannia Depicta,’ W. Sotheby's ‘Tour through Wales,’ 1794, and ‘A Tour to Hafod,’ 1810. Smith died in Middlesex Place, London, on 22 March 1831, and was interred in the St. George's burial-ground in the Uxbridge Road. Good examples of his work are in the British and South Kensington Museums.

[Roget's Hist. of the ‘Old Watercolour’ Society; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists.]

F. M. O'D.