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William Dobson ( 1610 - 1646 )  Category ( Painters ) [suggest a correction]
 

William DobsonWilliam Dobson was an early seventeenth-century English portraitist. Born in London to William Dobson and Alice Barnes, the younger William was one of eight children. His father was considered a "Gentleman" of some means, but apparently lived a dissipated life and wasted his fortune. A contemporary noted that the elder William died young after "spending his estate luxuriously upon women..." The one, clear advantage young William had during his early years was that he was born into an artistic family, who agreed that their artistic son should be apprenticed to artist William Peake. Part of his training included copying works by the old masters, including Titian and Anthony Van Dyck. Dobson's work also shows clear evidence of Venetian influence, particularly his use of color and interest in atmosphere, climate, and weather. It was Van Dyck himself (who was court painter to Charles I) who discovered the young Dobson, when he viewed the latter's works displayed in a shop window. Van Dyck arranged for a royal introduction, and soon Dobson was painting members of the royal family. His was a very quick and early rise to artistic fame and fortune.

While there is no certainty, it appears that Dobson married during the early 1630s, to a woman named Elizabeth. Another record suggests he may have married Judeth Sander. No definitive record has been discovered, but a Christening of a Katherin Dobson in 1639, born to “William Dobson,” and “Judith” is recorded at St. Bride’s Church in Fleet Street, London.

During the English Civil War, Dobson worked quietly at Oxford, painting portraits of prominent Cavaliers. He painted the future Charles II at age twelve. Some art critics consider it his finest work. His earlier work demonstrates a thick, painterly style, which he forsook later in life in favor of a lighter touch. Art historians have suggested his change in approach may have more to do with the unavailability of paints during the war, rather than a professional decision. In 1646, Oxford fell to Cromwell's forces, and Dobson returned to London not long afterward. The interregnum was a disaster for Dobson. He had lost his patronage, from the executed Charles I, to the Cavaliers in exile. Without patrons, he could make no money. He quickly fell into debt and was imprisoned for nonpayment. Shortly after his release from prison he died. He was only thirty-six years old.

Image: "The Painter with Sir Charles Cottrell and Sir Balthasar Gerbier" by William Dobson, circa 1645.


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www.kfki.hu/~arthp/bio/d/dobson/biograph.html [Comment on this link]
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Title :Biography
Description : Biography of DOBSON, William (b. 1610, London, d. 1646, London) in the Web Gallery of Art, a searchable image collection and database of European painting and sculpture (1100-1850)
 
 
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http://www.oxforddnb.com/index/101007720 [Comment on this link]
 
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