John Phillips (artist)

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John Phillips
The King Commander in Chief; or, the Upset of the Waterloo-man, Bags & Baggage by John Phillips.jpg
The King Commander in Chief; or, the Upset of the Waterloo-man, Bags & Baggage by John Phillips[1]
Born (1808-10-24)October 24, 1808
Westminster, England
Died after 1842
Nationality English
Known for Etching

John Phillips (1808 – after 1842), was an artist and illustrator in Great Britain. He is perhaps best known as a satirical etcher.[2]

Early life[edit]

John Phillips was the son of Giles Firman Phillips (1780–1867), and Lydia Arnold. He was born 24 October 1808 in the Parish of St James, Westminster, and baptised 28 May 1809 in the Tottenham Court Chapel in Tottenham Court Road. His mother died in 1839 and John lived for a time with his father at 8 Leicester Square (1831) 8, Richmond Buildings, Dean Street, Soho (1832-3), 60 Frith Street Soho, (1837) 16 Brownlow Street, and later (1841,) at 85 Newman Street. His first print was published in 1825 at the age of 17. He published a number of satirical prints between 1825 and 1830 for G Humphrey and others.[3]

Phillips is known to have used the pseudonym, A Sharpshooter,[4] who published a series of prints through S Gans. After the demise of the satirical print in the 1830s he turned his hand to portraiture in the form of miniatures. Five have been identified to date (2011.)[5]

He also exhibited paintings and drawings at the Society of British Artists and the New Watercolour Society 1832-7. He co-operated with Alfred Crowquill (pseud. of Alfred Henry Forester 1804-72) in Geo William Reynolds "Pickwick Abroad, or a Tour in France" 1838, illustrated with 41 steel engravings by A Crowquill and John Phillips, and 33 woodcuts by Bonner. For Thomas Tegg, 73, Cheapside, 1839'.[6]

Punch magazine[edit]

Phillips worked as an illustrator in the first edition of Punch.[7] Several series of etchings by him exist. 'Merry Thoughts for Merry Moments' pub C.S. Arnold, Tavistock Street, Covent Garden. 1829; 'Characteristic Sketches of the London Club Houses' (4) pub by G. Humphrey, St James Street, Westminster, July 3, 1829; 'Itinerant Characters Drawn & Etched from the life', in 6 plates illustrating the trades and occupations of the humblest classes in the metropolis, published by Wm Darton of Holborn Hill (nd. Circa 1825.); 'Familiar Life' pub Tilt & Bogue, Fleet St. (nd), and many others. In 1842 Edward Landells found him working at “The Illustrated London News” as a scene painter.[citation needed]

Phillips had almost certainly died by 1851. No information about him can be found in the census, and no further art works have been recorded or found.


  1. ^ "The King Commander in Chief; or, the Upset of the Waterloo-man, Bags & Baggage". Collections. National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 20 March 2011. 
  2. ^ "John Phillips - Modern Tourist". Art of the Print. Art of the Print. Retrieved 19 March 2011. 
  3. ^ George, Dorothy. Catalogue of Personal and Political Satires. 
  4. ^ "Humour; Politics ; Satire 1". Heatons, Arts Crafts & Antiques. Heatons, Arts Crafts & Antiques. Retrieved 19 March 2011. 
  5. ^ Foskett, D. (1975). Dictionary of British Miniature Painters. Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-08295-7. 
  6. ^ Houfe, S. (1978). Dictionary of British Book Illustrators & Caricaturists 1800-1914. ACC. 
  7. ^ Spielmann, M.H. (1895). The History of Punch. Cassell.