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date: 20 September 2019

Bowyer, Robertlocked

(b London, c. 1758; d Byfleet, Surrey, June 4, 1834).
  • David Blayney Brown

Extract

(b London, c. 1758; d Byfleet, Surrey, June 4, 1834).

Miniature painter and publisher. He was originally self-taught and then a pupil of John Smart (1741–1811), whose work he copied and whose style he imitated: between 1783 and 1828 he was an occasional exhibitor at the Royal Academy, being appointed in 1789 painter in watercolours to George III and miniature painter to Queen Charlotte (1744–1818). He was a keen promoter of history painting and in 1792 launched a prospectus for an edition of David Hume’s History of England, to be ‘superbly embellished’ with illustrations engraved after historical paintings by leading artists, including Benjamin West, Robert Smirke, Francis Wheatley and Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg. Bowyer also published the Historic Gallery, which, until its failure, with great financial loss, in 1806, provided substantial patronage to history painters and fostered a taste for national history paintings, especially of medieval subjects. The five folios that appeared contained, in addition to engravings of historical paintings, engraved portraits, manuscripts and antiquarian material. Bowyer also published ...

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Dictionary of National Biography, 63 vols and suppls (London, 1885–)