Robert Smirke (painter)
In his thirteenth year he was apprenticed in London with an heraldic painter, and at the age of twenty he began to study in the schools of the
Royal Academy, to whose exhibition he contributed in 1786 a "Narcissus" and a "Sabrina," which were followed by many works, usually small in size, illustrative of the English poets, especially James Thomson.
In 1791 Smirke was elected an associate of the Royal Academy and two years later a full member. He painted pictures for
John Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery, including "Katharina and Petruchio", "Prince Henry" and "Falstaff". In 1814 he was nominated keeper to the Royal Academy, but the king refused to sanction the appointment on account of the artist's revolutionary opinions.
He also executed many clever and popular book-illustrations. His works, which are frequently humorous, are pleasing and graceful, accomplished in draughtsmanship and handled with considerable spirit. He died in London on 5 January 1845.
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