John Boydell was born at Dorrington. He was apprenticed to an engraver for seven years before publishing his first volume of printed views of England and Wales in 1748. In 1752 he opened a print shop in Cheapside. Boydell later bought old plates, imported prints and sold works in France, Holland, Germany and Italy. In 1789 he opened his Shakespeare Gallery in Pall Mall and the first set of engravings based on paintings exhibited in the gallery was issued in 1791. Many leading artists exhibited at the venue. Later in life he sustained severe financial losses as a result of the French Revolution and was forced to dispose of his Shakespeare Gallery by lottery. He became an alderman of the City of London and rose to be Lord Mayor of London.
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