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painting  by Julius Caesar Ibbetson

painting by Julius Caesar Ibbetson

Th name Julius Caesar Ibbetson alone is intriguing enough but this englishman was quite a painter and in his own time very well known. Some of his works can be found in the Tate Museum in London.

English painter, printmaker and writer. In 1777 he moved to London, where he worked as a scene-painter and picture restorer. He married about three years later. From 1785 he exhibited landscapes, genre scenes and portraits at the Royal Academy. In 1787–8 Ibbetson was personal draughtsman to Col. Charles Cathcart on the first British Mission to Beijing, a voyage that included visits to Madeira, the Cape of Good Hope and Java. Thereafter he lived by painting landscape oils and watercolours, the subjects culled from his frequent tours. He painted occasional portraits throughout his career. He was also an accomplished figure draughtsman and social observer: he showed four humorous paintings of sailors at the Royal Academy in 1800, a topical theme at the height of the Napoleonic Wars.

print by Ibbetson

print by Ibbetson

In straitened circumstances, Ibbetson moved in 1798 to Liverpool. From that year until his death he lived in the north, at Edinburgh, Rosslyn and the Lake District, finally settling at Masham, N. Yorks, in 1805. He married his second wife in 1799 and was unsuccessful as an ARA candidate the following year. Ibbetson’s large Lake District oils show a sinuous handling of line that has more in common with 17th-century Dutch paintings than the sparer compositions of Romantic art. Ibbetson’s finest achievement is in his highly individual watercolours: blue-toned and delicate, they are characterised by astutely balanced elements of landscape, atmosphere and human incident. His eldest son, Julius Caesar Ibbetson the younger (1783–1825), was a drawing-master and innkeeper at Richmond, N. Yorks.