(b. 1740, Edinburgh, d. 1793, Roma)
Scottish painter, active in Italy. The son of an Edinburgh merchant, he was first apprenticed to a goldsmith and then, from 1766, to the Norie family of house-painters. In the 1760s he produced numerous sketches of the Scottish Lowlands (examples National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh), and in 1769 he designed and executed stage sets at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, for the first productions after the legalizing of the theatre in Scotland.
More's Edinburgh period culminated in a series of oil paintings of the Falls of the River Clyde, three of which are in public collections: Corra Linn (National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh), Stonebyres Linn (Tate Gallery, London) and Bonnington Linn (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge). These paintings are regarded as the first serious artistic interpretations of the Scottish landscape, depictions by previous artists having been essentially topographical in character. More took a set of three of them to the Society of Artists Exhibition in London in 1771, at which he gained widespread recognition and the personal encouragement of Sir Joshua Reynolds.
He stayed in London for a couple of years, studying under Richard Wilson and (judging from his later style) working as a scene-painter.
In 1771, More travelled to Rome, where he stayed for the remainder of his life. In Rome, he lived in lodgings over the English coffee house in the Piazza di Spagna, until 1787, and later nearby in the Strada Rosella, attaining a high reputation as one of the most outstanding landscape artists of his generation, surpassing that of any other British painter then working in Italy. The esteem in which he was held was reflected in his unanimous election to the Accademia di San Luca in Rome in 1781 and with the rare accolade of having his self-portrait accepted for the Gallery of Artist's portraits in the Uffizi in 1784, two of the most prestigious artistic awards available in Italy.
Aside from his work as an artist More also acted for some ten years as agent and art dealer in Rome for the 4th Earl of Bristol, one of the most inveterate grand tourists, who was also among his most important patrons.