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 William Keable  (c.1714 - 1774)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom/Italy      Known for: portrait, figure, genre painting

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Portrait of a boy, half-length, with a shuttlecock and bat, leaning on a ledge, in a painted oval
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

William Keable or Keeble (c.1714-1774)

Born in East Anglia.  A moderately successful painter of portraits and small conversation-pieces, a member of St. Martin’s Lane Academy 1754.  He was patronized by a number of American Colonists traveling in London, particularly from Charleston, South Carolina.  Two such works, the 1749 portraits of Mrs Benjamin Smith (1722-1760) and her brother-in-law Thomas Smith Jr (1719-1790), were exhibited in the Gibbes Museum of Art 1999 exhibition ‘In Pursuit of Refinement - Charlestonians Abroad 1740-1860’, and show the important transfer of artistic taste from mid-eighteenth century England to the Americas.  He produced a number of charming, small full-lengths in the manner of Hayman and Devis, although also painted large scale. 

An amateur musician as well as a painter and his role as the flautist implies that he served Crokatt and Muilman as a music master and perhaps also taught them drawing and may have become acquainted with Gainsborough through artistic circles in Suffolk, or musical ones, such as the Ipswich Musical Club, since Gainsborough was himself a talented amateur musician.  It was perhaps through a lack of ready patronage that Keable left to settle in Italy by 1761, where he pained a portrait of Castruccio Bonamici Gandolphi, becoming Accademico della Clementina 1770.  Keable was buried at Livorno, Tuscany on 12 January 1774.

Information provided by Tony Copsey, author and researcher of artists in Suffolk County, England.


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