Vanderbank, John (DNB00)

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VANDERBANK, JOHN (1694?–1739), portrait-painter, son of Peter Vanderbank [q. v.], was born in England about 1694. He was a highly gifted painter, and for a short time during the reign of George I enjoyed a great reputation; but his career was marred and his life shortened by vicious and extravagant habits. Soon after 1724 he opened a drawing academy in rivalry with that of Sir James Thornhill [q. v.], introducing a female model, but it proved a failure. In 1729 he went to France to avoid his creditors, and on his return entered the liberties of the Fleet. He died of consumption in Holles Street, Cavendish Square, London, on 23 Dec. 1739, aged about 45, and was buried in Marylebone church. Vanderbank's portraits, among which are those of many eminent persons, are skilfully drawn and full of character, but slight and careless in execution. He had a great talent for historical composition, and Vertue speaks highly of some of his works of this class. He furnished a set of clever designs for the illustrations to the edition of the Spanish text of ‘Don Quixote’ published in London under Lord Carteret's patronage in 1738; also those for ‘Twenty-five Actions of the Manage Horse, engraved by Josephus Sympson,’ 1729. Vanderbank's portraits of Sir Isaac Newton and Samuel Clarke are in the National Portrait Gallery, and that of Thomas Guy is at Guy's Hospital; two others of Newton belong to the Royal Society. Many of his portraits were engraved by John Faber and George White. An album containing his original sketches and finished drawings for the ‘Don Quixote’ plates is in the print-room of the British Museum. His portrait occurs in the group of artists painted by Hogarth, now in the university galleries at Oxford, of which there is an engraving by R. Sawyer.

[Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting; Vertue's Collections in the British Museum (Addit. MSS. 23076 f. 13, 23079 f. 11); Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Gent. Mag. 1739, p. 660.]

F. M. O'D.