George Romney (painter)
George Romney (December 26, 1734 – November
15, 1802) was a noted English portrait painter.
He was born on Boxing Day 1734 in Dalton-in-Furness
(then part of Lancashire, today in Cumbria), and apprenticed to
his father as a cabinet-maker. In 1755 he went to Kendal to learn
painting from a Cumberland artist by the name of Christopher Steele,
and within two years was becoming well-known as a portraitist.
In 1762, by which time he was married with two
children, he went to London, and saw early success with a painting,
The Death of General Wolfe which won a prize from the Royal Society
of Arts. Romney soon had a thriving portrait business in Long Acre.
Romney was invited to join the newly-formed Royal
Academy but refused to resign from another artistic society, violating
the Academy's exclusive membership rules.
In 1773 he travelled to Italy with fellow artist
Ozias Humphrey to study art in Rome and Parma, returning to London
in 1775 to resume business, this time in Cavendish Square (in a
house formerly owned by noted portraitist Francis Cotes). He was
engaged to paint the portraits of many famous people, including
Emma Hamilton and fellow artist Mary Moser. He did not return to
his family in Kendal until 1798.