Closterman, John

, a painter who practised his art in England, was born at Osnaburgh in 1656, and with his countryman, one Tiburen, went to Paris in 1679, where he worked for De Troye. In 1681, they came to England, and Closterman at first painted draperies for Riley and | afterwards they painted in conjunction, Riley still executing most of the heads. On his death Closterman finished several of his pictures, which recommended him to the duke of Somerset, who had employed Riley. He painted the duke’s children, but lost his favour on a dispute about a picture of Guercino, which he had bought for liis grace, and which was afterwards purchased by lord Hnlifax. Closterman, however, did nof want business. He drew Gibbons the carver and his wife in one piece, which pleased, and there is a mezzotinto from it. He was even set in competition with sir Godfrey Kneller, and there is a story, not very credible, that sir Godfrey refused to paint a picture with him for a wager. Closterman painted the duke and duchess of Marlborough and all their children in one picture, and the duke on horseback; on which subject, however, he had so many disputes with the duchess, that the duke said, “It has given me more trouble to reconcile my wife and you, than to fight a battle.” Closterman, who sought reputation, went by invitation to Spain in 1696, where he drew the king and queen, and from whence he wrote several letters on the pictures in that country to Mr, Richard Graham. He also went twice to Italy, anil brought over several good pictures. The whole length of queen Anne in Guildhall is by him, and another at Chatsworth of the first duke of Rutland; and in Painters’-hall, ti portrait of Mr. Sannders. Elsum has bestowed an epigram on his portrait of Dryden; yet Closterman was a very moderate performer: his colouring strong, but heavy; and his pictures without any idea of grace. Yet he might have enjoyed very affluent circumstances, had he not shewn a foolish and infatuated fondness (as Houbraken tells us) for a girl that he kept in his house. That insidious young woman, who had persuaded him that she was entirely attached to his person and interest, watched a proper opportunity, and robbed him of all his money, plate, jewels, and every costly moveable, and fled out of the kingdom. So sudden and so unexpected a misfortune, against which he was totally unprepared, affected Closterman so violently, that he pined away his life; not long surviving the loss of his effects, and the infidelity of his mistress, which even impaired his understanding. He died in 1713, and was buried in Cbvent-garden churchyard. 1

1 Lord Orford’s Works. Pilkington.