James Lonsdale was born in Lancaster. He became a pupil of George Romney and a student at the Royal Academy. He first exhibited at the Academy in 1802. On the death of John Opie in 1807, Lonsdale purchased Opie’s house in Berners Street, where he resided for the rest of his life. He was one of the founders of the Society of British Artists. He was also Portrait Painter in Ordinary to the Duke of Sussex and Queen Caroline and a portrait painter to the Beefsteak Society. He painted ‘King John signing the Magna Carta’ for the Duke of Norfolk at Arundel Castle and painted the Emperor of Russia, the King of the Belgians and Archduke Maximilian of Austria. Lonsdale died in Berners Street in January 1839. He left a widow and three sons.
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