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George Romney (British, 1734-1802)
Birth Place: Dalton-in-Furness (Cumbria, England, United Kingdom)
George Romney was a celebrated English portrait painter in the mid and late 1700s. He painted many leading figures in society, and his favorite muse was Lord Nelson's mistress Emma Hamilton.
Romney was born in Beckside in Dalton-in-Furness, Lancashire on December 26, 1734. He proved to be an indifferent student and was removed from school at the age of 11. He did, however, have a natural ability to draw. He was taught his craft informally from the age of 15 by a local watchmaker. At 21, he received a formal apprenticeship with Christopher Steele, an artist who had the luck to study with French artist Carol Vanloo.
In 1763 he entered his painting, "The Death of General Wolfe" into a contest hosted by the Royal Society of Arts. He took second prize, but the amount was reduced and this seems to have led to a life-long aversion to the Society.
Some of his most famous works include "Portrait of Miss Willoughby," "Granville Leveson-Gower's Children," and a nearly life-sized painting of Lady Ann de la Pole. The Lady Ann work has the distinction of selling for a record price in 1913. Romney's work can be found in museums all over the world including the United Kingdom, Ireland the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Russia and France.
By 1799, Romney was in poor health. He returned to Kendal and lived under the care of his wife until his death on November 15, 1802. His grave can be found at St. Mary's Parish Church in Dalton-on-Furness.
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