GILPIN, Sawrey
(b. 1733, Carlisle, d. 1807, London)


English painter, watercolourist and etcher, part of a family of artists, brother of William Gilpin. After initial artistic tuition from his father, he was apprenticed in London in 1749 to the marine painter Samuel Scott and remained with him for almost nine years. No extant marines can be confidently ascribed to Gilpin alone, though he is thought to have assisted Scott in the execution of some commissions during the 1750s. During this period Gilpin's sketches of horses and carts in Covent Garden reportedly brought him to the attention of William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, by whom he was briefly employed around 1759. His watercolour studies made at Cumberland's stud-farm have been compared (and sometimes confused) with those of his fellow-employee Paul Sandby.

Later patrons included Colonel Thornton of York, the indefatigable sportsman, and Samuel Whitbread, M.P. who became a life-long patron, and to whose house at Southill he retired after the death of his wife in 1802.

Gilpin collaborated with other artists including Turner, Marlow, Romney and Zoffany, for whom he painted the animals in landscapes and conversation pieces. Amongst his pupils were Gooch and George Garrard: the latter married his eldest daughter Matilda. Gilpin exhibited at the Society of Artists from 1762-1783, where he was elected President in 1774, and at the Royal Academy from 1786-1807, where he was elected a full Royal Academician in 1797, an honour never received by his contemporary George Stubbs, with whom his contemporaries frequently compared his work.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.