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(b La Roque d’Anthéron, Bouches-du-Rhône, Aug 19, 1777; d Paris, Feb 23, 1841).

French museum director, painter, printmaker, writer and military officer. He studied painting in Aix-en-Provence under Jean-Antoine Constantin, alongside his lifelong friend François-Marius Granet; further teachers included Jean-Jacques de Boissieu, Jean-Louis Demarne and, from 1796, Jacques-Louis David. He first exhibited at the Salon in that year. However, during the Empire he was chiefly celebrated as a soldier, writer and lover. He became Chamberlain and consort to Napoleon’s sister, Pauline Bonaparte, Princess Borghese, and was decorated for his conduct in the Portuguese and Austrian campaigns. In 1810 Charles Barimore, the most successful of his four Orientalist novels, was a great sensation in Empire boudoirs. Forbin’s most significant contributions to the history of art came when he returned to Paris after the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in 1814.

Following his appointment in 1816 as Director of the Royal Museums, to succeed Vivant Denon, Forbin’s first concern was to minimize the repatriation of works of art acquired by force during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. In ...

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(b Durham, April 26, 1777; d St Petersburg, May 4, 1842).

British painter, writer and diplomat. His family moved to Edinburgh in 1780, and there he knew the young Walter Scott and the Jacobite heroine Flora Macdonald. A battle painting owned by Macdonald inspired him to become a painter of battle scenes himself. In 1790 his mother took him to London to see Benjamin West, President of the Royal Academy, who was impressed by Porter’s sketches and arranged for him to be admitted to the Royal Academy Schools. There he made rapid progress and in 1792 was awarded a silver palette by the Royal Society of Arts for his drawing the Witches of Endor (untraced). The following year he was commissioned to paint an altarpiece for Shoreditch Church in London, and he received a number of further commissions over the succeeding years. On a visit to his grandparents in Durham he painted his only known landscape, View of Durham (untraced), which he exhibited at the Royal Academy in ...

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David Mannings

(b Plympton, Devon, July 16, 1723; d London, Feb 23, 1792).

English painter, collector and writer. The foremost portrait painter in England in the 18th century, he transformed early Georgian portraiture by greatly enlarging its range. His poses, frequently based on the Old Masters or antique sculpture, were intended to invoke classical values and to enhance the dignity of his sitters. His rich colour, strong lighting and free handling of paint greatly influenced the generation of Thomas Lawrence and Henry Raeburn. His history and fancy pictures explored dramatic and emotional themes that became increasingly popular with both artists and collectors in the Romantic period. As first president of the Royal Academy in London, he did more than anyone to raise the status of art and artists in Britain. His Discourses on Art, delivered to the students and members of the Academy between 1769 and 1790, are the most eloquent and widely respected body of art criticism by any English writer.

Although Reynolds’s father, a fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, and master of Plympton Grammar School, had intended that his son train as an apothecary, Joshua chose instead to seek fame as a painter. In ...