(Born Bristol, 13 April 1769; died London, 7 January 1830). The outstanding English portrait painter of his generation. Lawrence was a child prodigy and was almost entirely self-taught. He was also handsome and charming, and after a resounding early triumph with his portrait of Queen Charlotte (1789–90, NG, London) he never looked back in terms of professional and social success (the queen herself disliked the portrait, but it was acclaimed when exhibited at the Royal Academy). On the death of Reynolds in 1792 Lawrence succeeded him as official painter to George III, and in 1794, aged 25, he became the youngest person to be elected a Royal Academician (although Mary Moser was a founder member when even younger). On the death of Hoppner in 1810 he was recognized as the leading portrait painter of the time, and also to some extent as head of the profession of painting in Britain.

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

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