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John Jackson RA (1778-1831)

John Jackson, RA (1778-1831)

John Jackson was a prolific and successful painter of highly individualised portraits, initially in watercolour and then increasingly in oil. He also developed a reputation for his copies of portraits by other artists, including Sir Joshua Reynolds, who – along with Sir Henry Raeburn and Sir Thomas Lawrence – influenced his style. Lawrence praised his work, describing his portrait of John Flaxman RA as ‘a grand achievement of the English School’ (as quoted by the Redgrave Brothers in A Century of Painters of the English School, 1866, vol 2, page 68). His direct approach as a painter and his amiable nature as a man were grounded in his adherence to Methodism.

John Jackson was born in Lastingham, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, on 31 May 1778, the eldest son of the tailor, John Jackson, and his wife, Ann (née Warrener), who came from a family of Wesleyan Methodist missionaries. On completing schooling at Nawton, which lies about 15 miles from Lastingham, he began to work for his father.

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