George Romney British Painter 1734 AD - 1802 AD
George Romney (26 December 1734 – 15 November 1802) was a noted English portrait painter. George Romney was born in Beckside in Dalton-in-Furness, Lancashire (now part of Cumbria, and after attending school at Dendron at age eleven was apprenticed to his father as a cabinet-maker. In 1755, he went to Kendal to learn painting from the Cumberland artist, Christopher Steele. By 1757, Romney was becoming well-known as a portraitist. In 1762, married and with two children, he went to London, where the painting, The Death of General Wolfe won a prize from the Royal Society of Arts. Romney soon had a thriving portrait business in Long Acre. Much of his work features local aristocrats, ranging from wealthy gentlemen and military officers to ladies, children, and entire families. Most of his paintings feature a dark background that contrasts well with the subject of the painting and helps to center the viewer's attention on them. Despite his great success George Romney was never invited to join the Royal Academy nor did he ever apply to join. While there has been much speculation about his relationship with the Academy, there is no doubt that he normally remained aloof maintaining that a good artist should succeed without being a member. His own career supported this belief, and it was only towards the end of his life that he expressed the slightest regret for his views. In 1773 he travelled to Italy with fellow artist Ozias Humphrey to study art in Rome and Parma, returning to London in 1775 to resume business, this time in Cavendish Square (in a house formerly owned by noted portraitist Francis Cotes). In 1782, he met Emma Hamilton (then called Emma Hart) who became his muse. He painted over 60 portraits of her in various poses, sometimes playing the part of historical or mythological figures. He also painted many other contemporaries, including fellow artist Mary Moser. After an absence of almost forty years, he returned to his family in Kendal in the summer of 1799. He was greeted by his loyal, devoted and unquestioning wife. Romney is buried in the churchyard of St. Mary's Parish Church, Dalton-in-Furness George Romney is a kinsman of Mitt Romney, U.S politician.