[ LADY LEVER ART GALLERY ] [ JOHN LINNELL ]
was born in Bloomsbury, the son of a frame knitter. He was largely self-taught,
earning a living from making copies of Morland's works, but in 1805 briefly
studied at the Royal Academy Schools and was probably apprenticed to Varley.
His early works were mainly portraits but he went on sketching tours and
in 1821 he exhibited his first landscape at the RA. He was influenced
by Mulready (e.g. Gravel Pits at Kensington, 1813, London, Tate) and produced
a number of rustic genre scenes (e.g. Shepherd Boy Playing a Flute, 1830,
New Haven, Yale). The biggest influence, however, was that of Blake, whom
he met in 1818 and supported financially through the Job commission (1821).
He introduced his friend and later his son-in-law, Palmer, to Blake. In
his later work, after the success of Eve of the Deluge (1848, Cleveland),
he produced a series of ideal panoramas of a lush, pastoral Surrey (e.g.
Last Gleam Before the Storm, 1847-8, Liverpool). Throughout his career
he was a journeyman, prepared to take on any commission and work on any
subject (he produced watercolours and ivory miniatures). He was hugely
popular despite the repetitiveness of his late work, and won a gold medal
in Paris (1855).