Biagio Rebecca

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Biagio Rebecca ARA (1731–1808) was an Italian artist, active mainly as a decorative painter in England.


Rebecca was born at Osimo, near Ancona, in the Marches, and served his apprenticeship in Rome.[1]

In England he became known for neoclassical scenes from mythology, often working on decorative schemes in collaboration with Robert Adam, for example at Harewood House and at Kedleston Hall. He also decorated Heaton Hall in Prestwich, near Bury, Lancashire and frescoed a ceiling at the Marine Pavilion at Brighton. With Angelica Kauffman, he painted the old lecture room at Somerset House, then home of the Royal Academy.

He was employed to do some painting at Audley End House by Sir John Griffin. In late 1772 Ann White, a servant at the house, gave birth to his illegitimate son, John Biagio Rebecca. Rebecca acknowledged that he was the father, and agreed to deposit £100 with Sir John Griffin Griffin for the support of the child, thus absolving himself of any further responsibility to it or its mother. A note in the baptismal register at Saffron Walden describes Rebecca as "a most ingenious artist who was employed by Sir John Griffin, at Audley End, to paint the ceiling & Panels of ye little south drawing Room, & several family portraits in the great Room over the eating Parlor!!!"[2][3] John Biagio Rebecca became a respected architect.

He exhibited four works at the Royal Academy in 1770–02, and was elected an Associate of the Academy in 1771.[4]


  1. ^ Biographical notes published up till now are always laconic and vague about his Italian origins and apprenticeship: for both, Marchegiani (2011) offers new notices, and a correct birthdate.
  2. ^ "Nominate your favourite record". Essex Record Office. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  3. ^ The "Bond to Indemnify the parish of Walden agt. Ann White's Child by Mr Rebecca" is online at "Essex Records Office, D/B 2/PAR8/35". Seax.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  4. ^ Graves, Algernon (1905). The Royal Academy: A Complete Dictionary of Contributors from its Foundations in 1769 to 1904. 6. London: Henry Graves. p. 245. 


  • Malise Forbes Adam, "Rebecca, Biagio (1734/5–1808)", in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 46 (2004), p. 244.
  • Cristiano Marchegiani, Le origini italiane di un "faceto" pioniere del Neoclassicismo inglese: Biagio Rebecca da Osimo [Italian origins of a "facetious" pioneer of English Neoclassicism: Biagio Rebecca from Osimo], in "Opus. Quaderno di storia dell'architettura e restauro"

[Dipartimento di Architettura - Sezione di Storia dell'Architettura, Restauro e Rappresentazione dell'Università "Gabriele D'Annunzio", Chieti-Pescara], 11 (2011), pp. 83–94. [1]

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