Best English Painters
Most Important Portraitists, Landscape Artists, in Oils and Watercolours.

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The Nightmare (1782)
By Henry Fuseli.
Detroit Institute of Arts.

For biographies and paintings,
see: Best Irish Artists.

Best English Painters (c.1700-1900)


Best 18th Century English Painters
Best 19th Century English Painters

This list of important artists associated with England (mainly London) during the 18th and 19th centuries, features the two major fine arts traditions of English Figurative Painting and English Landscape Painting. The first of these includes portraitists, genre painters, artists specializing in drawings from the nude, as well as exponents of mythological history paintings, "conversation pieces", and other subject paintings. The second tradition embraces topographical artists, as well as painters of coastal scenes, seascapes, riverscapes, and other scenic views. Orientalists, miniaturists, animaliers, equestrian artists and illustrators are also featured. Further artists will be added in due course. All suggestions welcome.

An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump (1768) By Joseph Wright of Derby.
National Gallery, London.

For details of colour pigments
used by 18th century English
oil painters, see:
Eighteenth Century Colour palette.

For details of the best modern
painters, since 1800, see:
Famous Painters.

For a list of the Top 10 painters/
sculptors: Best Artists of All Time.
For the best oils/watercolours,
see: Greatest Paintings Ever.

For a discussion of the types,
values, and significance of the
visual arts, see: Definition of Art.

Best English Painters Born 1700-1800

William Hogarth (1697-1764)
Pioneer figurative painter; founder of English portraiture and genre-painting.
Allan Ramsay (1713-84)
Scottish-born portrait painter, official portraitist to King George III.
Richard Wilson (1714-82)
Pioneer of English landscape painting.
Alexander Cozens (1717-86)
One of the first exclusively landscape painters; noted for monochrome works.
Nathaniel Hone the Elder (1718-84)
Irish portraitist settled in London; earliest of the 18th-century miniaturists.
Joshua Reynolds (1723-92)
Grand style portraitist, first President of London Royal Academy of Fine Arts.
George Stubbs (1724-1806).
Finest ever animalier and equestrian horse painter.
Francis Cotes (1725-70)
Follower of Reynolds, noted for his sensitive portraits in cool colours.
Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88)
Outstanding portrait and landscape painter.
Johann Zoffany (1733-1810)
Fine genre painter, visual chronicler and portrait artist.
Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-97)
Highly original portraitist and genre painter, noted for candle-lit scenes.
George Romney (1734-1802)
Noted for his sympathetic, charming but mediocre portraits.
John Singleton Copley (1737-1815)
Of British parents, initially a portraitist, became a great history painter.
Benjamin West (1738-1820)
American artist active in London. Second President of Royal Academy.
Tilly Kettle (c.1740-86)
Follower of Reynolds who made a fortune painting Princes, Nabobs of India.
Richard Cosway (1740-1821)
Greatest English miniaturist painter of the close of the 18th-century.
John Hamilton Mortimer (1741-89)
Romantic, history painter; lifelong friend of Joseph Wright.
James Barry (1741-1806)
One of the best Irish artists in London, noted for his mythological painting executed in the 'grand style'.
Henry Fuseli (1741-1825)
Swiss-born Romantic artist, symbolist painter.
Ozias Humphrey (1742-1810)
Miniaturist, pastel artist, later Portrait Painter in Crayons to George III.
John Russell (1745-1806)
Miniaturist portrait artist in crayon, pastel, plumbago or lead pencil.
Henry Walton (1746-1813)
Genre painter of grace and charm in the manner of the great Jean Chardin.
John Robert Cozens (1752-99)
Son of Alexander Cozens; the finest landscape watercolourist of his day.
Thomas Stothard (1755-1834)
Illustrative artist noted for his literary painting and small book-illustrations.
Sir Henry Raeburn (1756-1823)
Virtuoso portrait artist, a Scottish Holbein or Van Dyke.
William Blake (1757-1827)
Highly original engraver, etcher, watercolourist and illustrator.
John Hoppner (1758-1810)
Portrait painter to Prince of Wales (George IV) despite lack of individuality.
John Opie (1761-1807)
Best known for Portrait of the Painter and Portrait of a Boy.
John Crome (1768-1821)
Founder of Norwich school of landscape painters, inspired by Hobbema.
Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830)
President of the Royal Academy, polished/flashy Regency era portraitist.
Martin Archer Shee (1769-1850)
President of the Royal Academy, good portraitist without Lawrence's vitality.
James Ward (1769-1859)
Much admired romantic, dramatic painter of animals in landscape settings.
Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
England's first major watercolourist.
JMW Turner (1775-1851)
The greatest English watercolourist and landscape painter.
John Constable (1776-1837)
England's greatest naturalist landscape artist.
John Varley (1778-1842)
Influential drawing teacher, known for romantic lake and mountain scenes.
Sir Augustus Wall Callcott (1779-1844)
Landscape artist noted for classical schemes; known as "the English Claude".
John Sell Cotman (1782-1842)
Drawing teacher, watercolourist painter of Norwich school, illustrator.
Samuel Prout (1783-1852)
Architectural water-colour painter of gothic cathedrals, churches, and towns.
David Cox (1783-1859)
One of the great landscape artists, wrote treatise on watercolour painting.
Peter de Wint (1784-1849)
Landscape artist best known for his watercolours, and also some oil paintings.
David Wilkie (1785-1841)
Rural genre painter, inspired by Dutch Realists; popularized rustic scenes.
Benjamin Robert Haydon (1786-1846)
Tragi-comical painter of historical/religious paintings in the 'Grand Manner'.
William Mulready (1786-1863)
Talented Irish genre painter & colourist, a precursor of the Pre-Raphaelites.
William Etty (1787-1849)
Arguably the greatest English painter of the nude figure (York Art Gallery).
John Martin (1789-1854)
Famous for huge historical landscapes. Like Samuel Palmer, a great Romantic.
Charles Robert Leslie (1794-1859)
Painter of literary/historical themes, best known as biographer of Constable.

Best English Painters Born 1800-1900

Frederick Yeates Hurlstone (1800-69)
Genre/subject painter, noted for works like Scene from Gil Blas (Tate Gallery).
Thomas Webster (1800-86)
Rustic genre painter, follower of Wilkie.
Richard Parkes Bonington (1802-28)
Comparable to Turner & Constable; noted for his French coastal/river scenes.
Edwin Landseer (1802-73)
Skilled but overly sentimental animal painter, lacked Stubbs' class.
John Frederick Lewis (1805-76)
Vivid colourist, orientalist watercolour painter of life in Spain and Egypt.
William Dyce (1806-64)
Nazarene & Pre-Raphaelite artist, scientist, art administrator.
Daniel Maclise (1806-70)
Great Irish artist and draughtsman, noted for his mural history paintings.
William James Muller (1812-45)
Early English exponent of Orientalist painting. Influenced by Constable.
Augustus Egg (1816-63)
Moralizing painter of Victorian dramas (Past and Present, Tate Gallery).
John Phillip (1816-67)
Talented genre painter, follower of Wilkie, influenced by Velazquez.
EM Ward (1816-79)
Illustrative painter of historical/genre subjects.
Alfred Stevens (1817-75)
Outstanding Victorian painter and sculptor.
George Frederick Watts (1817-1904)
The most revered English artist (portraitist, sculptor) of the late 19th century.
John Ruskin (1819-1900)
Included for his importance as one of the great art critics of the 19th century.
William Powell Frith (1819-1909)
Immensely popular Victorian painter of anecdote-packed public scenes.
Ford Madox Brown (1821-93)
Pre-Raphaelite painter influenced by Cornelius and Overbeck.
William Holman Hunt (1827-1910)
Leader of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-82)
Romantic painter; leading member of the Pre-Raphaelites movement.
John Everett Millais (1829-96)
Pre-Raphaelite, noted for his fashionable academic-style portraiture.
Lord Frederick Leighton (1830-96)
Highly influential painter/sculptor - a major figure in Victorian art of the day.
Sir Edward Burne-Jones (1833-98)
Romantic painter, associate of Rossetti; virtuoso of abstract linear pattern.
William Morris (1834-96)
Painter, designer, decorative artist; leader of Arts & Crafts Movement.
James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834–1903)
American artist active in England, noted for his Nocturnes and etchings.
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912)
Anglo-Dutch painter of fashionable erotic genre scenes set in Greece & Rome.
Alfred Sisley (1839-1899)
Of English parents; one of the great Impressionist landscape artists.
John William Waterhouse (1849-1917)
Romantic English artist, noted for his masterpiece The Lady of Shalott.
Walter Sickert (1860-1942)
The greatest of the British Post-Impressionist painters.
Aubrey Beardsley (1872-98)
Art Nouveau illustrator, known for illustrations of Salome and Morte d'Arthur.
Percy Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957)
Dynamic, idiosynchratic abstract painter, co-founder of Vorticism movement.
L.S. Lowry (1887-1976)
Manchester urban landscape and genre painter noted for 'match-stick men'.
Paul Nash (1889-1946)
War artist, landscape painter, leading English Surrealist.
Graham Sutherland (1903-80)
Included because of his Neo-Romanticism which he shares with Nash.

English Painters: More Information

• For more on 19th century Romanticism, see Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
• For later works, see: Contemporary British Painting (c.1960-2000).

Best Painters Around The World

For the finest painters in the five principal painting genres, see:

Best History Painters (Narrative, mythological works)
Best Portrait Artists (Portraiture, individual, group portraits)
Best Genre-Painters (Everyday scenes, exemplified by Dutch Realists)
Best Landscape Artists (Arcadian, Plein air, studio works)
Best Still Life Painters (From Baroque to the present)


• For contemporary English artists, see: 20th Century Painters.
• For more about the origins & development of the fine arts, see: Homepage.

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