(b London, 28 Oct. 1744; d Brixham, Devon, 6 Mar. 1797). English painter, mainly of landscapes. He was the pupil and assistant of Richard Wilson, 1758–65, and became a skilful imitator of his style. His work took on a more personal character when he travelled as draughtsman on Captain James Cook's second voyage to the South Pacific in 1772–5, and his finest paintings are those based on drawings he made of such exotic places as Tahiti and Easter Island (examples are in the National Maritime Museum, London). In 1779–84 he worked in India (where he earned a good deal of money) and he later visited the Continent, going as far as Russia in 1792. He did pictures for Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery and also tried to elevate his landscapes by combining them with moralistic subject matter.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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