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William Artaud (1763–1823) self-portrait, c. 1822 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Artaud, William (1763–1823), portrait and history painter, was born in London on 24 March 1763, the son of Stephen Artaud, a Huguenot jeweller, and his wife, Elizabeth. He was awarded silver palettes by the Incorporated Society of Artists in 1775/6, 1777, and 1782, and from 1778 attended the ...

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Bell, William (1734/5–1806?), portrait and history painter, was born at Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, the son of a bookbinder. On 30 January 1769 aged thirty-four, he enrolled as the first student in the Royal Academy Schools. He tried, unsuccessfully, to win the academy gold medal in 1770, but won it in the following year for his picture of ...

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Benazech, Charles [pseud. Frieselheim] (1767/8–1794), portrait and history painter, was born in London, the son of the engraver and draughtsman Peter Paul Benazech (1730?–1798). In 1782, at the age of fifteen, he went to Rome, and in October 1783 to Florence, where on 11 January 1784 he was elected to the ...

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Bewick, William (1795–1866), portrait and history painter, was born at Darlington, co. Durham, on 20 October 1795, the son of William Bewick (1759–1844), upholsterer, and Jane Roantree (d. 1843), a Quaker descended from a local family of linen manufacturers. After attending a local school he was apprenticed to his father and began experimenting with painting and drawing, receiving his first tuition from itinerant artists, later from the ...

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Chisholm, Alexander (bap. 1792, d. 1847), portrait and historical painter, was born at Elgin, in Moray, and baptized there on 14 August 1792, the son of John Chisholm, a tanner, and his wife, Margaret Bowie. He was brought up as a weaver and was sent to ...

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Closterman, John (1660–1711), history and portrait painter, was born in Osnabrück, a prince-bishopric in north Germany, from 1648 ruled alternately by a Roman Catholic bishop and a Hanoverian Lutheran prince. 'Mr. Tiburing', a fellow townsman, gave George Vertue Closterman's place and year of birth (...

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Cochran, William (1738–1785), portrait painter and history painter, was born at Strathaven, Lanark, and baptized on 12 December 1738 in the parish of Avondale, Lanarkshire, the son of John Cochran, barber. He began his artistic training in 1754 at the academy of painting in ...

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John Singleton Copley (1738–1815) self-portrait, 1780–84 National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

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Copley, John Singleton (1738–1815), portrait and history painter, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on 3 July 1738 at Long Wharf, the first and only child of Mary Singleton (c.1710–1789) and Richard Copley, shopkeepers who emigrated from Ireland some time in the mid-1730s. ...

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Dicksee, Sir Francis Bernard (1853–1928), historical genre and portrait painter, was born in London on 27 November 1853. He was the elder son of the painter and illustrator Thomas Francis Dicksee (1819–1895) and his wife, Eliza, the daughter of John Bernard, of Church Place, Piccadilly, London...

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L. H. Cust

revised by Lucy Dixon

Foggo, James (1789–1860), portrait and history painter, was born in London on 11 June 1789. His father was a native of Fife, a reputable watchmaker, and a republican who, fearing persecution after advocating emancipation of black slaves in repeated visits to North and ...

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Isaac Fuller (1606/1620?1620–1672) self-portrait, 1670 © Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

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Fuller, Isaac (1606/1620?–1672), portrait and history painter, is said to have been born in 1606 (Redgrave) but no evidence has emerged for this date and his apparent age in the self-portrait of 1670 (Bodleian Library, Oxford) suggests that a more plausible birth date may be about 1620. He was probably born in ...

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Gibb, Robert (1845–1932), historical genre and portrait painter, was born in a small cottage in James Street, Lauriston, near Falkirk, on 28 October 1845, the fifth son of David Gibb, journeyman joiner, and his wife, Christian, née Morrison. The landscape painter William Gibb (1839–1929)...

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Sir John Watson- Gordon (1788–1864) by James Good Tunny, 1850s private collection; photograph © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Gordon, Sir John Watson- (1788–1864), painter of historical subjects and portraits, was born in Edinburgh. He was descended from the Watsons of Overmains, Berwickshire, and he was the son of Captain James Watson of the Royal Artillery. John Watson trained to follow his father into the army, but before receiving his commission took drawing lessons with ...

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Hole, William Fergusson Brassey (1846–1917), painter and etcher, was born in the close, Salisbury, Wiltshire, on 7 November 1846, the only child of Richard Brassey Hole (1818/19–1849), a physician, originally from Devon, who had studied in Edinburgh, where he married Anne Burn, née...

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R. E. Graves

revised by Deborah Graham-Vernon

Howard, Henry (1769–1847), portrait and history painter, was born in London on 31 January 1769, the son of a coach builder in Wardour Street. He received his elementary education at a school at Hounslow, and in 1786, aged seventeen, became a pupil of the painter ...

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Frederick Yeates Hurlstone (1800–1869) by unknown artist (after Sir William Beechey) © National Portrait Gallery, London