JOHN 'WARWICK' SMITH, O.W.S. (1749-1831)
A VIEW OF THE PORTA DEL POPOLO
Signed & titled verso
Watercolour with black chalk
20.8 x 33.5cm
Jacques & Colette Ulmann, Paris
‘Warwick’ Smith travelled to Italy in 1776, under the patronage of the 2nd Early of Warwick, who funded his travels. He became well known within the British artistic community in Rome, sketching with William Pars and Thomas Jones as well as Francis Towne, with whom he travelled back to England in 1781.
John Smith was born in Irthington, Cumberland on July 26th, 1749. His first tutor was the amateur artist Captain John Bernard Gilpin (father of the Rev. William Gilpin), from Cumberland Castle, and it was Gilpin who was responsible for encouraging him to become an art teacher. While in Derbyshire in c.1775, he met George Greville the second Earl of Warwick, the great collector of works of art for Warwick Castle. This led to the aforementioned trip from which the present work dates.
After five years, he returned to England and settled in Warwick. During this period he traveled extensively around Britain and six of his drawings were engraved as illustrations for Samuel Middiman’s Select Views in Great Britain (1784-5). In 1786 John Murray, the 4th Duke of Atholl, commissioned Smith to paint 26 pictures of the Isle of Man which are today regarded as the most important extant illustrative records of the island.