John Vanderbank, portraitist, history painter and illustrator, was born in London, the son of a tapestry weaver of the same name. From 1711, he studied at Kneller's Academy and, in 1720, established an academy of his own with French painter Louis Cheron, in St. Martin's Lane. The academy closed after May 1724, when Vanderbank fled to France to avoid imprisonment for debts. He studiously copied the work of Rubens and Van Dyck and was considered a gifted portraitist. However, he ruined a promising career through intemperate living. From 1724 to 1729 he was repeatedly in debt and detained in Fleet prison. His chief book illustrations were 68 plates for ‘Don Quixote’ (1738). He died of at his home in Holles Street aged 45, leaving a wife, Anne.
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