John ‘Warwick’ Smith was born in Cumberland, the son of a gardener to the sister of Captain John Bernard Gilpin. Gilpin gave him lessons and took him on sketching trips. In about 1775, he met the Earl of Warwick, who funded his stay in Italy (1776-81). He continued producing Italian pictures after his return. He later travelled on UK sketching tours and received commissions for series of watercolours, including 56 of Perthshire and 26 of the Isle of Man for the Duke of Atholl. He made several trips to Wales between 1784 and 1806, resulting in 15 plates for ‘A Tour to Hafod in Cardiganshire’ (1810). In 1805, he became a member of the Society of Painters in Watercolour and was later its President. He died at the age of 81 in London.
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