Martin, John, 1789-1854

Alternative names
Birth 1789-07-19
Death 1854-02-17

Biographical notes:

English romantic painter, etcher and illustrator.

From the description of Letter: Lindsey House Chelsea, 1849 Jan. 15. (Getty Research Institute). WorldCat record id: 78314354

John Martin was a popular and successful British painter and printmaker. Born at Haydon Bridge, he showed artistic ability early and was apprenticed with a coachmaker to learn heraldric painting; later, he worked with Bonifacio and Charles Musso, with whom he moved to London. Supporting himself with commercial art at first, he developed and executed a series of large, dramatic oil paintings, many with Biblical themes, that became popular with viewers and found generous buyers. He later painted small scale pictures, including a series of popular watercolor landscapes. He was also an important engraver, chiefly working with mezzotints; he illustrated Paradise Lost, and later scenes from the Old Testament.

From the description of John Martin letter to Mr. Linnecar, 1829 Dec. 9. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 79636804

Born, Haydon Bridge, Northumberland, 1789; apprenticed to a Newcastle coach-painter, 1804; ran away after a dispute over wages; apprenticed to a Newcastle china-painter, Boniface Musso; moved to London and supported himself painting on china and glass whilst studying perspective and architecture; sent the Royal Academy his first pictures, 1812; became an opponent of the Royal Academy after becoming aggrieved over the hanging of his pictures in 1814 and 1816, but continued to contribute to their exhibitions; appointed historical painter to Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold, 1817; exhibited at the British Institution, 1819-1821, including 'Belshazzar's Feast'; joined the Royal Society of British Artists on its foundation and exhibited there, 1824-1831,1837-1838; exhibited 'The Fall of Nineveh' at Brussels, 1833, bought by the Belgian government; elected a member of the Belgian Academy and awarded the order of Leopold by the King of Belgium; quarrelled with the British Institution, 1836; exhibited many works at the Royal Academy, 1837-1852, including many landscapes in water-colours; drew illustrations (with Westall) to Milton's Paradise Lost ; worked on plans for improving London, including water supply and recycling of sewerage, 1827-1853; died, 1854.

From the guide to the Papers of and relating to John Martin, artist, 1822-1976, (Queen Mary, University of London)


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  • Artists--19th century--Correspondence
  • Exhibitions
  • Urban planning
  • Illustration
  • Environmental engineering
  • Engraving--History--19th century
  • Engraving, British
  • Artists--Correspondence
  • Visual materials
  • Sanitation
  • Urban development


  • Architects--Biography.--Great Britain
  • Painters--Biography.--Great Britain
  • Engravers--Biography.--Great Britain


  • City of Westminster (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • Piccadilly (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)