Sir Francis Grant PRA (1803-1876)

Sir Francis Grant, PRA.

Francis Grant was a self-taught painter, who after a slow start first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1834, with a sporting picture called Merton Breakfast. A succession of other sporting pictures - predominantly hunting scenes - followed, and he became established as a successful painter. He became a highly fashionable portrait painter, including in his subjects the Queen, Palmerston, and many other well-known people.

Grant became ARA in 1842, and RA in 1851. In 1866, on the death of Charles Eastlake PRA, Edwin Landseer was offered the Presidency of the Royal Academy. He turned this down, and Grant was then elected (incidentally, a portrait of Landseer by Grant is in the Russell Cotes Museum). Grant was knighted soon afterwards. Under Grant's leadership, the Royal Academy moved from the National Gallery to Burlington House. It was under Grant also that the Chantrey Bequest fund was set up.

Portraits by Grant may be seen in the National Portrait Gallery, and we should also note a portrait by him of his niece, the sculptor Mary Grant, in Leicester.

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