John Cross (artist)

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John Cross (1819 – 26 February 1861) was an English painter.[1]


Cross was born in Tiverton, Devon, where his father was the superintendent of a lace factory, in 1819. Soon afterwards his father moved to St. Quentin, as superintendent of an English factory, and the young Cross was admitted into the School of Design, where he showed so much ability that he was sent to Paris, where he entered the atelier of Picot, a painter of some celebrity in the old classic school.[2]

In 1843 Cross submitted a cartoon of The Assassination of Thomas à Becket to the competition for the decoration of the Houses of Parliament, held in Westminster Hall, but was unsuccessful as it did not fully comply with the terms of the competition. A second attempt in 1847, with an oil painting of The Clemency of Coeur-de-Lion, won him the first prize of £300, and was later purchased by the royal commissioners for £1,000.[2]

In 1850 he exhibited at the Royal Academy for the first time, his subject being The Burial of the Young Princes in the Tower. This was followed by Edward the Confessor leaving his Crown to Harold in 1851 ; The Death of Thomas à Becket in 1853; Lucy Preston's Petition in 1856; and The Coronation of William the Conqueror in 1859; but none of Cross's later productions equalled his first effort.[2]

Following his death in London in 1861, his friends bought his Assassination of Thomas à Becket, and placed it in Canterbury Cathedral.[2]



  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainBryan, Michael (1886). "Cross, John". In Graves, Robert Edmund. Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers (A–K). I (3rd ed.). London: George Bell & Sons.