John Cranch Biography

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John Cranch was an English renowned painter born in 1751 at Kingsbridge, Washington DC. Other than painting, Cranch was also known for his music and writing, the arts he taught himself while he was a little boy.

He painted several pictures and portraits which won him a place at the Society of Artists and British Institution in London. One of his best pictures was ‘The Death of Chatterton’, a painting now in possession of one of his friends, Sir James Winter Lake.

Other than his memorable paintings, John Cranch had also earned himself several achievements, one of them being elected as a foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences back in 1797.

In 1818, he became a member of the American Antiquarian Society. John believed in using nature to come up with his paintings instead of using religious and classical subjects. He was a mentor to many; one of them was John Constable who also believes in John’s belief of nature painting, a concept that helped him in his later development.

A good part of John’s life was spent at Bath. While in Bath, he became a pioneer of Rescue Archaeology. John Cranch was related to famous and most influential families. For example, he had a far family relation with the 2nd president of the US since his uncle was the brother-in-law of the president.

During John Adam’s visit to the English West Country, John accompanied the family. He died a bachelor at the age of seventy. He is still remembered for some of his publications such as “On the Economy of Testaments” which was published in 1794 and “Inducements to Exciting Native Genius to Independent Effort and Original Design” which was published in 1811.

South Kensington Museum holds one of his most famous paintings. You will also find his paintings at Bristol and Exeter art galleries, the V&A, and Tate.

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