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Richard Parkes Bonington 's Biography

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Bonington was born in Arnold, near Nottingham on 25th OCT,1802.He was one of the most influential British artists of his time. Though the styles of the old masters were adapted by him,his works were entirely modern in their presentation. His father was a jailor, drawing master and a lace maker while his mother was a teacher.

Bonington was taught water color painting by his father. His paintings were on display at the Liverpool Academy when he was just 11. The family relocated to Calais in 1817 where his father established a lace factory.
Bonington became a student under Francois Louis Thomas Francia. He underwent training in English water color painting. Bonington’s father opened a retail shop in Paris in 1818. There Bonington met and befriended Eugene Delacroix. He started painting the Dutch and Flemish landscapes kept in the Louvre. Later he enrolled at Ecole des Beaux-arts in Paris in 1820 under Antoine-Jean, Baron Gros.

He travelled all over France and also Normandy painting coastal landscapes and seaport scenery. (Coast of Picardy,1823-24; French River Scene with fishing boats,1824; A boat beached in a port at low tide, 1825).
He visited England and Scotland too, sometimes along with his friend Eugene in whose studio he worked. He made a visit to Venice in 1827.

Bonington started going on tours in and around Paris. The Paris Salon exhibited his works in 1822. He also did lithography, and produced illustrations of Baron Taylor’s “Voyages pittoresques dans I’ancienne France”, and his own “Restes et Fragmens”. He was awarded a gold medal in 1824 at the Paris Salon along with John Constable and Anthony Copley Fielding.

From 1824 onwards he switched over to romantic themes taken from history. His most well known works on historic subjects came later: Francis I and Marguerite of Navarre; Henri III and the English Ambassador, 1827-28; Venice the Grand Canal, 1827.

Like John Constable, Bonington’s works were highly regarded in France. He set the trend of doing water colors outside the studio. His nature painting gave a stimulus to the Barbizon painters. With Eugene Boudin and Johann Barthold Johnkind as assistants he made a lasting impression. He died of tuberculosis, in London at the young age of 26.


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