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Article

Patrick Conner

(b Maidstone, Kent, April 10, 1767; d Maidstone, July 23, 1816).

English painter, engraver, draughtsman and museum official. The son of a coachbuilder, he was apprenticed to Julius Caesar Ibbetson before enrolling in 1784 at the Royal Academy Schools, London. In 1792 he accepted the post (previously declined by Ibbetson) of draughtsman to George, 1st Earl Macartney, on his embassy to China. As the embassy returned by inland waterway from Beijing to Canton, Alexander made detailed sketches of the Chinese hinterland—something achieved by no British artist previously and by very few subsequently. These sketches formed the basis for finished watercolours (e.g. Ping-tze Muen, the Western Gate of Peking, 1799; London, BM) and for numerous engravings by both himself and others. For over fifty years his images of China were widely borrowed by book illustrators and by interior decorators in search of exotic themes.

Alexander was also a keen student of British medieval antiquities, undertaking several tours in order to make drawings of churches and monuments; many of these were reproduced in the antiquarian publications of ...

Article

William L. Pressly

(b Cork, Oct 11, 1741; d London, Feb 22, 1806).

Irish painter, draughtsman, printmaker and writer.

He was the son of a publican and coastal trader and studied with the landscape painter John Butts (c. 1728–65) in Cork. Early in his career he determined to become a history painter: in 1763 he went to Dublin, where he exhibited the Baptism of the King of Cashel by St Patrick (priv. col., on loan to Dublin, N.G.) at the Dublin Society of Arts, by whom he was awarded a special premium for history painting. He studied under the portrait and history painter Jacob Ennis (1728–70) at the Dublin Society’s drawing school. He attracted the attention of Edmund Burke, who in 1764 found work for him in London preparing material for volumes of the Antiquities of Athens with James ‘Athenian’ Stuart. From 1765 to 1771 Barry travelled in Europe, financially supported by Burke. He was mostly in Rome, where he moved in the circle of the Scottish painters John and Alexander Runciman and the sculptor Joseph Nollekens; he seems also to have known the Swedish Neo-classical sculptor Johan Tobias Sergel. In ...

Article

Italian, 18th – 19th century, male.

Born 18th century, in Parma; died 1829.

Painter, engraver, architect, writer.

Giuseppe Bertoluzzi's watercolours and etchings are on display in the academy and royal library in Parma.

Parma (Accademia)

Parma (Royal Library)

Paris, 12 May 1919...

Article

British, 18th – 19th century, male.

Born 28 November 1757, in London, United Kingdom; died 12 August 1827, in London.

Painter, draughtsman, engraver, illustrator, poet. Religious subjects, figure compositions.

William Blake was the son of a draper. He showed a strong artistic tendency from an early age and, at the age of 10, started to study drawing at Henry Par’s Academy in the Strand. He learnt engraving under Ryland and was then apprenticed to James Basire. During his seven years with Basire (1772–1779), Blake was made to copy the sculptures of Westminster Abbey and of London’s old churches, thus stimulating his fascination with Gothic art. He studied briefly at the Royal Academy in 1779, where he made friends with Barry, Fuseli, Mortimer, Flaxman, and Stodhart. While there, his studies concentrated on Michelangelo....

Article

David Bindman

(b London, Nov 28, 1757; d London, Aug 12, 1827).

English printmaker, painter and poet. His reputation as a visual artist increased during the 20th century to the extent that his art is as well known as his poetry (see fig.). Yet in his own mind Blake never completely separated the two, and his most original work is to be found in hand-printed books of prophecy, which developed a personal mythology of limitless intellectual ambition. In these books, text and design are completely integrated in what he called ‘illuminated’ printing. He also made many pen and watercolour drawings, prints in various media and a small number of tempera paintings, but even in these his broader aims were primarily theological and philosophical: he saw the arts in all their forms as offering insights into the metaphysical world and therefore potentially redemptive of a humanity he believed to have fallen into materialism and doubt.

Article

[il Sordino]

(b Bologna, Feb 23, 1740; d Bologna, May 5, 1815).

Italian painter, biographer, draughtsman and engraver. He was a pupil of Giuseppe Varotti (1715–80). While a student at the Accademia Clementina, Bologna, he received two awards, including the Premio Marsili for the Sacrifice of Noah (1758; Bologna, Accad. B.A. & Liceo A.). He pursued literary interests throughout his life and became a member of the avant-garde Accademia Letteraria degli ‘Ingomiti’ in Bologna in 1763. His early paintings, notably the St Francis de Sales (1764; Bologna, Ospizio dei Preti), continue the strict classical strain within the Bolognese figurative tradition; they show the influences of Ercole Graziani, Marc Antonio Franceschini and Donato Creti. Calvi primarily painted sacred subjects, receiving numerous, mainly local, commissions. From about 1770 onwards many pictures, including his superb Self-portrait (1770; Bologna, Pin. N.), became increasingly austere and Raphaelesque in both style and design, anticipating 19th-century Bolognese Neo-classicism. In 1766 he frescoed an Assumption of the Virgin...

Article

Danielle Rice

[Tubières de Grimoard de Pestels de Lévis, Anne-Claude-Philippe de]

(b Paris, Oct 31, 1692; d Paris, Sept 5, 1765).

French amateur engraver, antiquarian, patron and writer. Born into an old aristocratic family, he enjoyed all of the privileges of his class, including a large private income, free time, access to artists and collectors, and mobility. He entered the army and distinguished himself in battle at an early age. In 1714 he spent a year in Italy, where he developed a lifelong passion for the arts, especially for antiquities. After the death of Louis XIV in 1715, Caylus resigned his military post and shortly thereafter undertook a hazardous journey to Turkey. In pursuit of ancient sites rarely seen by European eyes at this time, he negotiated with the local bandit chieftain for safe passage to the ruins of Ephesos and Colophon.

In 1719 Caylus settled in Paris, where he remained with the exception of a brief trip to Holland and England in 1722. He began frequenting the weekly gatherings held by Pierre Crozat, a wealthy financier and collector. Crozat’s circle included many important artists as well as connoisseurs and aestheticians who met to study his extensive collection of Old Master paintings and drawings and to debate theories of art. In this lively company, Caylus developed his eye and learnt etching and engraving from the artist ...

Article

French, 18th century, male.

Born 18 March 1718, in Paris; died 8 January 1778, in Paris.

Painter, engraver, architect, writer.

Challes was a pupil of Boucher and of André Lemoine. In 1739 he won the Prix de Rome with his Healing of Tobit and in ...

Article

Christian Michel

(b Paris, March 19, 1730; d Paris, March 7, 1809).

French engraver, illustrator and writer. He came from a poor family and trained with Guillaume Dheulland (c. 1700–c. 1770) by drawing cartouches for maps. He also had lessons from Pierre-Edmé Babel, a goldsmith and designer of ornament. Having designed mainly cartouches, coats of arms and various types of ornament in the 1750s, he gained recognition as a designer of culs-de-lampe and fleurons, which were considered indispensable for all lavishly produced books. In particular, he produced 57 illustrations for La Fontaine’s Contes in the Fermiers Généraux edition (Paris, 1762) and 38 fleurons and culs-de-lampe for Ovid’s Metamorphoses in Lemire’s and Bassan’s edition (Paris, 1767–71). His long-standing acquaintance Charles-Nicolas Cochin II entrusted him with engraving two plates for the Conquêtes de l’Empereur de la Chine (1767–73; Roux, nos 227–8), an important series of large-scale prints on which the best French engravers were being employed. Large plates are, however, rare in Choffard’s oeuvre; he devoted himself mainly to book decoration, such as fleurons for the Abbé de Saint-Non’s ...

Article

British, 18th – 19th century, male.

Active in London and in Bristol.

Born c. 1752; died 1848.

Painter, engraver, lithographer, draughtsman, writer.