Hamilton, William

, an historical painter, the son of a Scotch gentleman who resided many years at Chelsea, as deputy to Mr. Robert Adams, the celebrated architect, | when clerk of the works to that college, was born in 1750, and sent to Italy, when very young, under the patronage of Mr. Adams. He was there some time under the tuition of Zucchi, the painter of arabesque ornaments at Rome, and although Mr. Edwards thinks he was then too young to receive any material benefit from this tour, it served at least to increase his early taste for the art, and he caught a pleasant manner of painting, much in the style of his master. When he returned to England he became a pupil in the royal academy, and by attention to his studies, acquired considerable employment. He practised in many different ways, mostly history, and frequently arabesque, of which latter kind he executed some decorations at the seat of the late earl of Bute at High Cliff, Hampshire. He sometimes painted portraits, but his manner was not well adapted to that branch, yet his portrait of Mrs. Siddons in the character of lady Randolph (now in the possession of Samuel Whitbread, esq.) was allowed to have great merit. He was much employed by the late alderman Boydell, for his Shakspeare, and by Macklin for his edition of the Bible and of the Poets. In the former his “Woman of Samaria 7 ' deserves much praise. One of his most capital works was a picture of the” Queen of Sheba entertained at a banquet by Solomon," a design for a window in Arundel castle. His manner of painting was light, airy, and pleasant, and he excelled in ornaments to which he gave a propriety, richness, and a classic air. His coloured drawings imitate the fulness of his oil-paintings with more freshness, and, without much labour, are finished with taste. He was elected associate of the royal academy Nov. 8, 1784, and royal academician, February 10, 1789. He died in the vigour though not in the bloom of life, Dec. 2, 1801, of a violent fever of only three days 1 duration, deeply lamented by his friends, and regretted by the public. He was a man of great affability and gentle manners; his politeness covered no insincerity, nor his emulation envy. He was one of the few artists we have personally known who spoke with high respect of his brethren, and was equally respected by them for his amiable temper. 1


Edwards’s Supplement to Lord Orford. Pilkington by Fuseli.