Peter Falconet

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Peter (Pierre-Etienne) Falconet (1741–1791) was a French portrait painter.

Self-portrait, around 1770.


Falconet was born in Paris, the son of the sculptor Etienne Maurice Falconet. His first studies were probably in the French Academy, but his father, who was friendly with Joshua Reynolds, sent his son to England to work under the painter's direction. He came to London about 1766, in which year he obtained a premium of twenty guineas for a painting in chiaroscuro; in 1768 he gained another of twenty-six guineas for an historical composition. He was a member of the Incorporated Society of Artists, and contributed to their exhibitions from 1767 to 1773, and occasionally to the Royal Academy, mostly portraits.

Some time after 1773 Falconet returned to France, and married Marie-Anne Collot, his father's assistant, and herself a sculptor. He continued to paint, and died in 1791.


Falconet is best known in England by a set of portraits of eminent artists, drawn in profile in blacklead, with a slight tint of colour on the cheeks; these were engraved in the dotted manner by D. P. Pariset, and also by Burnet Reading.[1] Many of his other portraits were engraved, among them being: Horace Walpole, James Granger, Viscount Nuneham, the Earl and Countess of Marchmont and their son, Lord Polwarth, Hugh Percy, 1st Duke of Northumberland, Christian VII of Denmark, all engraved by D. P. Pariset; Elizabeth, Countess of Harcourt, Elizabeth, Countess of Ancrum, Mrs. Green and her son, and others engraved in mezzotint by Valentine Green; others were engraved by Hibbert, James Watson, John Dixon, Gabriel Smith, and J. F. Bause. There is a small engraving, from a design by Falconet, representing the interior of his father's studio. He also engraved himself some designs of François Boucher.

His daughter, Madame Jankowitz, bequeathed a collection of his works to the Museum at Nancy, comprising portraits of himself and family, pictures and drawings, besides some plaster busts by his wife, including one of Falconet himself. He decorated a Chinese temple for Lady de Grey at Wrest in Bedfordshire.



 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Falconet, Peter". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.