Francis Barlow c1626 - 1702

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Francis Barlow c1626 - 1702

From: A New General Biographical Dictionary
Projected and partly arranged by the late Rev. Hugh James Rose, B.D.
Principal of King's College, London

Barlow, Francis, about 1626 -1702, an English painter and engraver, was born in the county of Lincoln, and received his first instructions in painting from Shepherd, an indifferent portrait painter but whether he received any education as an engraver, or under whom, does not appear. He seems to have been very extensively employed, but as Mr. Strutt surmises, at very low prices "for not withstanding all his excellency in design, the multitude of pictures and drawings he appears to have made, and the assistance also of a considerable sum of money, said to have been left to him by a friend, he died in indigent circumstances.

The chief merit of Barlow as a designer, lay in his exactness in the portrayal of birds, fishes, and animals of all kinds, which are executed in a spirited, and in many instances a masterly manner. His principal defect was in colouring "probably occasioned," says Mr. Pilkington, "by unskillfulness of the master who had been his instructor." His drawings are generally slight, but the figures he introduced are disposed with great judgment, and executed with equal accuracy; whilst the distances and landscapes with which he usually embellished his compositions prove the fertility of his invention, as well as the excellence of his taste. Amongst the engravings after his works, are a set of twelve prints by Hollar, published by John Overton, entitled, Several Ways of Hunting, Hawking, and Fishing, invented by Francis Barlow, engraved by W. Hollar, 1671; "which," says Mr. Bryan, "will establish his claim to accuracy in drawing." He designed the one hundred and ten cuts for Ogilby's translation of AEsops Fables, published in 1665, several of the plates of which he etched himself. Part of the plates for Edward Benlow's Divine Poems, called Theophila, published in 1652, were also engraved by Barlow. Mr. Strutt also mentions a print representing an eagle flying in the air, with a cat in its talons, an event, which, he says, the artist himself was witness to in Scotland, whilst he was drawing views there. The eagle was overpowered by the struggling cat, and both fell to the ground where he took them up. He frequently used the initials of his name, F.B., instead of inserting it at full length, and those he sometimes enclosed in a small circle. The date of Barlow's birth is stated as above by Mr. Bryan, but M. Vialart-St. Morys, in the Biographie Universelle, gives it as 1646; which is clearly a mistake, since the plates he engraved for Theophila were exectued in 1652, when if the last mentioned authority were correct, Barlow could only have been six years of age.

--Strutts Dictionary of Engravers -- Bryan's Dictionary -- Pilikington's Dictionary -- Biog. Univ. --

Bird Etchings, The Illustrators and Their Books 1655 - 1855 by Christine E. Jackson

Contributed by Kent Barlow

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