John Cawse

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Portrait of Carl Maria von Weber, 1826.

John Cawse (25 December 1778 – 19 January 1862) was an English painter.


He was born on 25 December 1778, the son of Charles Woodruffe Cawse and his wife Mary, of Little Prescott Street, Whitechapel.[1] His father described himself in his will as a "Staymaker and Dealer in Whale Fins".[2]

Early in his career he was employed to draw caricatures by the print publisher SW Fores.[1] He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1802,[3] showing mostly portraits, but also some paintings of horses and, from the early 1830s, a few historical pictures.[4] Between 1807 and 1845 he exhibited at the British Institution, predominately showing literary and historical subjects, including scenes from the works of Shakespeare and Walter Scott.[5] His portrait of the clown Joseph Grimaldi is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery [6] and his 1826 painting of Carl Maria von Weber is in that of the Royal College of Music.[7]

He is best remembered for his book The Art of Painting Portraits, Landscapes, Animals, Draperies, &c., in oil colours, published in 1840.[3] He was an amateur musician who, unusually for the time, played the antiquated viola da gamba (i.e. the bass viol);[8] an instrument he once owned is in the Victoria and Albert Museum.[9]


He married Mary Fraser; two of their daughters, Mary and Harriet Cawse, became opera singers; another, Clarissa Sabina, was a miniature painter[1]



  1. ^ a b c "John Cawse (Biographical details)". British Museum. Retrieved 22 June 2015. 
  2. ^ "Will of Charles Woodroffe Cawse, Staymaker and Dealer in Whale Fins of Saint Mary". National Archives. Retrieved 22 June 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Bryan, 1886–9
  4. ^ Graves, Algernon (1905). The Royal Academy: A Complete Dictionary of Contributors from its Foundations in 1769 to 1904. 2. London: Henry Graves. p. 18. 
  5. ^ Graves, Algernon (1908). The British Institution 1806 –1867 A Complete Dictionary of Contributors and their Work from the Foundation of the Institution. London: George Bell and Sons. p. 92. 
  6. ^ "Joseph Grimaldi". National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 5 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "Research & Collections". Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  8. ^ Holman, Peter (Summer 2011). "Life after death" (PDF). CHOMBEC News (11): 7. ISSN 1751-3308. 
  9. ^ "Bass viol". Victoria and Albert Museum. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 


This article incorporates text from the article "CAWSE, John" in Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers by Michael Bryan, edited by Robert Edmund Graves and Sir Walter Armstrong, an 1886–1889 publication now in the public domain.