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English artist and drawing master (1783 - 1852) specialising in continental architectural subjects
Prout 's over-riding strengths as a draughtsman link him back to the topographical tradition of the 18th century and this, coupled with his specialist interest in capturing continental architectural subjects, explains why the art critic John Ruskin (1819 - 1900) championed his work.
Prout was the son of a ships outfitter who worked at the Plymouth naval dockyard. He first worked as a copyist for the antiquarian John Britton (1771 - 1857) and from 1808 as a drawing master for about 30 private clients. Teaching led him to develop a broad, almost schematic approach to composition which was modified later with a more fluid draughtsmanship in a picturesque style. He exhibited from 1803 at various London galleries and his drawing manuals and collections of views began to be published after 1812. He exhibited from 1815 with the Society of Painters in Watercolours and became a member in 1820. His work was seen there regularly for the rest of his life.
Prout became known for his architectural subjects, almost exclusively of continental subjects, in the 1820s. He published many of his views as lithographs in collected folios and helped popularise this new medium. Example of his publications include his views on the River Rhine, published in 1824, and his sketches of subjects in Flanders and Germany in 1833. Ruskin was inspired to make his first visit to Europe after seeing the second of these volumes.
Ill-health led Prout to move to Hastings in 1836. He did later return to London in 1844 and became Ruskin's neighbor at Denmark Hill. He made his last visit to the continent, to Brittany and Normandy, in 1846.
His son, Samuel Gillespie Prout (1822 - 1911), also became an artist and worked in a similar style to his father.
Place of birth
Europe: Northern Europe: UK: England: Devon: Plymouth
Place of death
Europe: Northern Europe: UK: England: London
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