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 John Seymour Lucas  (1849 - 1923)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom      Known for: portrait, genre, historical costume

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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.

John Seymour Lucas, British (1849-1923)

John Seymour Lucas was born in London in 1849, the nephew of a portrait painter to the Court.  With the encouragement of an uncle, the boy was first apprenticed to a wood carver and then to a sculptor.  At sixteen, Lucas began a course of study with his cousin, John Templeton Lucas, a noted genre painter.  Five years later he entered the St. Martin’s Lane Art School and eventually the Royal Academy, where he began exhibiting in 1872.

Lucas was influenced by Sir Walter Scott, the writer and by Ernest Meissonier, an artist who specialized in cavaliers as subjects.  Lucas also made trips to Amsterdam and Madrid where he came under the spell of Velasquez.  By the mid-1870’s, the artists small genre works had given way to 17th and 18th century masculine ‘costume’ pictures of historical significance.  These established and secured his reputation and he devoted himself almost entirely to them.

“Such a talent,” wrote Adrian Bury for Connoisseur in 1951, “demands imagination, scholarship craftsmanship and an indefatigable insistence on detail: and these qualities Lucas possessed to a remarkable degree.”

The artist exhibited regularly at the annual Royal Academy exhibitions in London and was elected an Academician in 1898.  He was also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a member of the Kernoozers Club – a society that met to discuss arts, armor, etc.  His own collection of antique costumes was acquired by the London Museum upon his death. 

Biography excerpted from the unpublished catalog by Edward P. Bentley for the Haussner Restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland, titled: Haussner’s, The Children.


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