Van der Gucht, Michael (DNB00)

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VAN DER GUCHT, MICHAEL (1660–1725), engraver, born in 1660, was a native of Antwerp. He studied engraving there under Philibert Bouttats, the leading member of a large family of engravers, and in 1673 was admitted to the guild of St. Luke in that city. He came to London about 1690, and was largely employed in engraving title-pages, portraits, and other illustrations for the booksellers, all done with the burin. He engraved a large print of the royal navy from a pen drawing by T. Baston. Van der Gucht died at his house in Bloomsbury on 16 Oct. 1725, aged 65, and was buried in St. Giles's Churchyard. Among his pupils were his two sons, Gerard and Jan Van der Gucht, and George Vertue [q. v.]

Gerard Van der Gucht (1696–1776) engraver, eldest son of the above, born in London in 1696, studied engraving with his father. He also studied drawing under Louis Cheron at the academy in St. Martin's Lane. Obtaining thus a freer hand than his father, he chiefly practised etching. He was also very extensively employed by the booksellers on engravings of small size and little importance. Among his works were a set of engravings from the paintings in the cupola of St. Paul's Cathedral by Sir James Thornhill [q. v.] He also had a large business as a picture-dealer. Van der Gucht died at his house in Lower Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, on 18 March 1776, having had between thirty and forty children by his wife, who survived him. His younger brother, Jan Van der Gucht (1697–1728?), also practised engraving under his father's direction, and worked for some time in Germany. On returning to London he worked in rivalry to his brother in the same line of engraving. He is stated to have assisted Hogarth in some of his earlier plates. He died, however, about 1728, of gout and fever, when only about thirty-one years of age.

Benjamin Van der Gucht (d. 1794), painter and picture-dealer, was thirty-second child of Gerard Van der Gucht, and one of twins. He studied drawing in the academy at St. Martin's Lane, and on the foundation of the Royal Academy he became one of the first students in its schools. He painted several portraits of some excellence, the majority known being those of actors, such as Garrick, Johnstone, Moody, and Woodward, some of which were engraved. A portrait of the last-named is in the Lock Hospital. Van der Gucht, however, obtained more repute as a picture-restorer and picture-dealer, and as such was extensively patronised in the highest circles of society. He lived for some time in Pall Mall, on the site afterwards occupied by the Shakespeare Gallery and now by the Marlborough Club. When he inherited his father's house in Upper Brook Street he built a picture gallery on to his house, in which he stored the high-class pictures in which he dealt, charging one shilling to strangers for admission to view the collection. On 21 Sept. 1794, while returning from a visit on business to the Earl of Burlington at Chiswick House, the boat in which Van der Gucht was travelling was run down off Barnes Terrace, and Van der Gucht, though an expert swimmer, was drowned. His collection was sold by auction at Christie's in March 1796. Descendants of the family still remain.

[Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, ed. Wornum; Vertue's Diaries (Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 23076, &c.); Edwards's Anecdotes of Painters; Rombout and Lerius's Liggeren der St Lukasgilde te Antwerpen; J. Chaloner Smith's British Mezzotinto Portraits.]

L. C.