MARSHALL, Benjamin
(b. 1768, Seagrave, d. 1835, London)


English painter. The son of Charles and Elizabeth Marshall, he spent his childhood at Seagrave, Leicestershire. During the 1780s he is believed to have taken drawing instruction from John Boultbee (1753-1812), although as late as 1791 his profession was recorded (on his brother-in-law's will) as schoolmaster. In this year he was introduced by William Pochin, MP, of Barkby Hall, Leicestershire, to the portrait painter Lemuel Francis Abbott with whom he subsequently embarked on an apprenticeship. This seems not to have lasted, for he completed a painting of a horse for George, Prince of Wales (later George IV), in 1792 (the first of several such commissions in the 1790s); this belies the traditional story that he turned to sporting art after seeing Sawrey Gilpin's Death of the Fox on exhibition at the Royal Academy in London in 1793.

Marshall was at his artistic peak in the years 1798 to 1810, and the paintings produced from his brush during this period rank with the very greatest works of the English School of animal painting. While wary of the hanging committee at the Royal Academy, he exhibited thirteen pictures between 1800 and 1829 among which probably the best known was of the immensely fat Mr Daniel Lambert, shown in 1807. His Game Cock and The Trimmed Cock shown at the Academy in 1812 illustrate another of his interests as well as the familiar equestrian portraits.

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