John Webber was born in London, the son of a sculptor from Bern, Switzerland. He was sent back to Bern, aged five, to be raised by an aunt. In 1767 he was apprenticed to Johann Ludwig Aberli, before leaving for Paris to study at the Académie Royale and under Jean-Georges Wille. In 1775 he enrolled at the Royal Academy Schools in London and, in 1776, gained employment as draughtsman for Captain Cook’s third voyage. On his return his drawings were published as ‘A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean’ (1784). His subsequent Academy exhibits were initially all subjects from Cook’s voyages, but were later mainly landscape views of Britain, France, Switzerland and Italy. He was elected a Royal Academician in 1791. He died of kidney disease, aged just 41.
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