Portrait of a girl after Russell
A girl sitting in a room, looking up and crying over her dead bird on the left in front of its cage, view behind a column on the right, after John Russell. Etching made and published by Niccolo Schiavonetti in 1797. The image is 36 x 27 cm and comes in a passe-partout. The print is in good condition, the titles are worn and the is a pinhole in the lower righthand corner.
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John Russell RA (29 March 1745 – 20 April 1806) was an English painter renowned for his portrait work in oils and pastels, and as a writer and teacher of painting techniques. Russell was born in Guildford, Surrey, the son of John Russell Snr., book and print seller and four times mayor of the town; his father was something of an artist, and drew and published two views of Guildford. Russell was educated at the Royal Grammar School, Guildford, and soon showed a strong inclination for art. He trained under Francis Cotes RA (of Cavendish Square, London), one of the pioneers of English pastel painting, and, like Cotes, was an admirer of the pastel drawings of Rosalba Carriera whose methods influenced his technique of “sweetening”. At the age of 19 he converted to Methodism, which was the cause of tension with his family and with his teacher; he made no secret of his strong evangelical leanings and would attempt to preach and convert at every opportunity. Russell set up his own studio, in London, in 1767. He made the acquaintance of the notorious Dr. William Dodd, whose portrait he painted in 1768. On 5 February 1770, he married Hannah Faden, daughter of a Charing Cross print and map seller, whom he had converted. They lived at No. 7 Mortimer Street, Cavendish Square, where he had moved in 1770. Russell’s work caused him to travel extensively around Britain. In 1772, he wrote Elements of Painting with Crayons, by which time he had won premiums for his drawings from the Society of Arts in 1759 and 1760, and entered the Royal Academy school of art in 1770, winning its gold medal for figure drawing the same year. He exhibited at the Society of Artists of Great Britain in 1768 and showed 330 works at the Academy between 1769 until and his death.
Nicolo Schiavonetti was born in 1771 in Bassano. He was the younger brother of Luigo Schiavonetti and like him he worked as an engraver and publisher. In 1790 Schiavonetti moved to London where he died in 1813.