Fuseli, Henry

Fuseli, Henry

Fuseli, Henry, 1741-1825, Anglo-Swiss painter and draftsman, b. Zürich. He was known also as Johann Heinrich Fuessli or Füssli. He took holy orders but never practiced the priesthood. Fuseli went (c.1763) to England and studied in London, where Joshua Reynolds befriended him. He spent a few years in Italy, where he made the studies for his famous series of nine paintings for Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery. Returning to England, he exhibited a number of works of a grotesque and visionary type, including the celebrated Nightmare (1782). His own Milton Gallery housed a series of his paintings illustrating the poet's works. His drawings, of which he left over 800, further reveal his romantic fascination with the terrifying and weird. Fuseli admired and encouraged William Blake. Some of his lectures to the Royal Academy have been published.

See studies by F. Antal (1956), P. A. Tomory (1972), and G. Schiff (2 vol., 1974).

orig. Johann Heinrich Füssli

(born Feb. 7, 1741, Zürich, Switz.—died April 16, 1825, London, Eng.) Swiss-born British painter and writer on art. The son of a portrait painter, he trained in theology as well as in art and art history. He left his native Zürich for London in 1764. Encouraged by Sir Joshua Reynolds, he went to Italy in 1770 and stayed for eight years; on his return to England, his works exhibited at the Royal Academy, such as his most famous work, The Nightmare (1781), secured his reputation. His subject matter was chiefly literary, and his images portrayed macabre fantasies and the grotesque. He was elected a full academician in 1790 and taught painting at the academy (1799–1805).

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Henry Tresham (c.1751–17 June 1814) was an Irish-born painter active in London in the late 18th century. His reputation was primarily gained through large-scale history paintings, somewhat similar in style to those of Henry Fuseli, but all of which are now lost. These were based on his travels to Rome. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1791 and became a Royal Academician in 1799. He was professor of painting at the Royal Academy from 1807 to 1809. He was involved in several of the major history painting ventures of late 18th-century London, including Robert Bowyer's History Gallery, the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery and Thomas Macklin's Holy Bible. Among the surviving examples of his painting is The Earl of Warwick's Vow before the Battle of Towton at Manchester City Art Gallery.

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