(b. 1692, London, d. 1780, Canterbury)


English painter, mainly of portraits. He studied at Kneller's Academy and had a considerable practice as a portraitist by the 1720s. His early work is in the manner of Richardson, but from the 1730s his portraits became more elegant as he responded to the Rococo influences that began to pervade English painting at this time. Some of his more informal works, however, have a directness and freshness that recall Hogarth (Mr. Oldham and Friends, Tate Gallery, London).

Highmore was a friend of the novelist Samuel Richardson and painted a series of twelve illustrations to 'Pamela" (Tate Gellery; Fitzwilliam, Cambridge; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne), which link him with Hayman and Hogarth as one of the initiators of a British school of narrative painting. He also painted Richardson's portrait (National Portrait Gallery, London). In 1761 he gave up painting and retired to Canterbury to devote himself to literary pursuits.