(b Plymouth, 17 Nov. 1793; d Pisa, 24 Dec. 1865). English painter, art historian, and administrator. He studied under Haydon and achieved early fame with his Napoleon on Board the Bellerophon (1815, Nat. Maritime Mus., London), made from sketches when he witnessed Napoleon on board ship (in Eastlake's native Plymouth) en route to exile in St Helena. Using the proceeds from the sale of this work he lived in Rome 1816–30, painting picturesque scenes of the Roman Campagna, often peopled by banditti, that became very popular in Britain. After his return to England, however, he turned increasingly to administration and achieved a remarkable record as a public servant. Most notably he was president of the Royal Academy from 1850 and director of the National Gallery from 1855, continuing in both posts until his death.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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