LAWRENCE, SIR Thomas, English por trait painter: b. Bristol, 4 May 1769; 4. Lon don, 7 Jan.' 1830. His father was an inn keeper, who in 1772 removed to Devizes. where the artist gave early proof of his ability by drawing portraits of his father's guests or, standing on a chair, would recite passages from Pope or At the age of six .he was sent to school, where he remained two years, and this, with the exception of a few lessons subsequently in Latin and French, con stituted his whole education. The family re moved to Bath in 1779, where he had access to the galleries of some of the neighboring gentry, where he employed himself in copying historical and other pieces. From this time he was the sole support of his family, and by the age of 12 his studio was the resort of the beauty and fashion of Bath, his works being mainly half-size ovals in crayon. In his 17th year he began to paint in oils. In 1787 the family removed to London, and Lawrence was admitted a student at the Royal Academy; his subsequent career was successful and bril liant. He was elected in 1791 a supplemental associate by the desire of the king, being under the age (24) fixed by the laws of the institu tion. No other case of tfie kind has occurred. On the death of Sir J. Reynolds the next year he was made painter to the king. His reputation grew steadily, and he was soon considered the first portrait-painter of the age in England. His scene from the (Tempest' was a successful attempt at historical painting. In 1794 he was made a Royal Academician and was elected• president in IVO. In 1815 he was knighted by the Prince Regent, who also em ployed him to take the likenesses of the allied sovereigns and the most distinguished persons of their suite. During their visit to England
he finished the portrait of the king of Prussia, and went to Aix-la-Chapelle several years afterward to paint the Emperor Alexander; thence he went to Vienna, where he completed the portraits of the emperor, the archdukes, Metternich, etc., and in Rome painted Pius VII and Cardinal Gonsalvi. These portraits are now in the Waterloo Gallery at Windsor and are of great historical value. Lawrence's portraits are striking likenesses and display a bold and free pencil; but they are, particularly his later ones, chargeable with mannerism; his coloring, brilliant and effective as it is hard and glassy, and shows little insight into character. The pleasing artificiality of his work, however gratifying to his sitters, has lowered his artistic reputation with succeeding generations. It was said of him that he never lost a sitter by an unflattering likeness. Pol ished and courtierlike in his manners, he was an inveterate and in main a harmless flirt, his successive proposals of marriage to the two daughters of Mrs. Siddons and subsequent withdrawals from these engagements being the only discreditable episodes in an otherwise honorable career. His income for the last 20 years of his life was very large, but he died poor, owing to the lavishness with which he spent money in acquiring the first-rate produc tions of his •art, in assisting less fortunate artists and in other ways. His valuable and unrivaled collection of drawings by the old masters was unfortunately dispersed after his death.