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Richard Parkes Bonington
British Romantic painter and draftsman
Richard Parkes Bonington was born in 1802 in Arnold, England, but spent most of his younger years in the City of Nottingham. He first studied with his father, also an artist. In 1817-1818, his family moved to Calais and then to Paris, where Bonington studied under Antoine-Jean Gros at the École des Beaux-Arts in 1819-1822, met Eugene Delacroix and made watercolor copies of Dutch and Flemish landscapes in the Louvre. His first works, mostly sketches of Le Havre and Lillebonne, were exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1822. He also began to work in lithography, illustrating Baron Taylor's Voyages. In 1824 he won a gold medal at the Paris Salon. He traveled all over France and especially Normandy, painting coastal landscapes and seaport scenes. He also went to England and Scotland, occasionally accompanied by his friend Eugène Delacroix, in whose studio he later worked. At the age of 20 Bonington went to Italy, and in 1826 he visited Venice, where he was deeply impressed by Veronese and Canaletto. From 1824 he experimented increasingly in romantic subjects taken from history and studied armor. Bonington, like John Constable, was one of the English artists whose landscapes were highly regarded in France. He was among the first artists in France to paint watercolors outdoors rather than in studio, and his approach to nature as well as his technique stimulated the Barbizon painters.
He died of tuberculosis at the age of 26 in London.