CLEVELEY, John the Younger
(b. 1747, Deptford, d. 1786, London)

Biography

English painter, part of a family of painters, son of John Cleveley the Elder. He seems early in life to have held some appointment at Deptford, probably of the same nature as his father's, and while residing there he made acquaintance with Paul Sandby, who was then chief drawing master at the royal military academy at Woolwich, from whom he learnt the art of water-colour painting and tinted drawings. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1770, and up to 1782 his works are always signed 'John Cleveley, junior.'

In 1772 he was chosen to accompany Sir Joseph Banks, as draughtsman, on his voyage to the Hebrides, Orkneys, and Iceland, and made numerous sketches, which he afterwards worked up into water-colour drawings. In 1774 he was appointed draughtsman to Captain Phipps's expedition to the North Seas, and made the drawings to illustrate the 'Journal of the Voyage.'

Like his father, John Cleveley the Younger depicted the Royal Dockyards at Deptford, Woolwich and Chatham and in many works the son followed his father's example in producing paintings commemorating launches. However, the artist abandoned his father's stiff, documentary style in favour of a more open, atmospheric view. John Cleveley the Younger and his twin-brother Robert, who also worked as an artist, treated a much wider range of subjects and addressed a wider audience through making pictures for reproduction in prints.