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Vertue, George

VERTUE, GEORGE (1684-1756), English engraver and antiquary, was born in St Martin's-in-the-Fields, London, in 1684. At the age of thirteen he was apprenticed to an heraldic engraver, a Frenchman, who failed in three or four years. Vertue then studied drawing at home, and afterwards worked for seven years as an engraver under Michael Vandergucht. He was patronized by Sir Godfrey Kneller, and was one of the first members of the Academy of Painting which that artist instituted in 1711. His plate of Archbishop Tillotson, after Kneller, commissioned by Lord Somers, established his reputation as an engraver; and he was soon in an excellent practice, engraving portraits after Dahl, Richardson, Jervas and Gibson. In portraiture alone he executed over five hundred plates. In 1717 he was appointed engraver to the Society of Antiquaries, and his burin was employed upon many interesting statues, tombs, portraits and other subjects of an antiquarian nature. He died on the 24th of July 1756, and was buried in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey.

From the year 1713 Vertue had been indefatigable in his researches on all matters connected with the history of British art, and had accumulated about forty volumes of memoranda on the subject. These were purchased by Horace Walpole, and form the basis of that author's Anecdotes of Painting in England, including an account of Vertue's life and a catalogue of his engravings. Vertue's own literary works include On Holbein and Gerard's Pictures (1740); Medals, Coins, Great Seals, Impressions, from the Elaborate Works of Thomas Simon (1753); Catalogue and Description of King Charles the First's Capital Collection of Pictures, Limnings, Statues, etc. 0757); Catalogue of the Collection of Pictures belonging to King James II., to which is added a Catalogue of Pictures and Drawings in the Closet of Queen Caroline (1758); Catalogue of the Curious Collection of Pictures of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (1758); Description of the Works of that Ingenious Delineator and Engraver, W. Hollar (1745).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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