Sir James Eyre (1734-1799) Chief Justice of the Common Pleas
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- About the work
About the artist
Portrait painter Lemuel Francis Abbott was the son of a clergyman and was born in Leicestershire. He studied briefly with the artist Francis Hayman but was largely self-taught. By 1784 he had settled in London, where he became well-known for portraits of naval officers, his most famous sitter being Nelson (examples of his portraits of Nelson are in the National Maritime Museum, National Portrait Gallery and Scottish National Portrait Gallery). In 1798 Abbott was certified insane, according to one account the result of an ‘ill-assorted marriage’. He never recovered, although portraits by him were exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1798 and 1800. Abbott died in Clerkenwell, London, in 1802. He is thought to have left a son.
Valentine Green, engraver of portraits and historical subjects after works by his contemporaries, was born at Salford, Worcestershire. He was intended for a career at the Bar, but without his father’s consent, became apprenticed to an obscure line engraver in Worcester. When he came to London in 1765 he began working in mezzotint and engraved nearly 400 plates over the next 40 years. In 1775 he was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy and was appointed Mezzotint Engraver to George III. In 1789 he obtained the exclusive privilege of engraving the pictures of the Dusseldorf, but was ruined when the city was besieged in 1798. In 1805 he was made Keeper of the newly founded British Institution, a post he retained until his death.