Biography

George Romney (1734-1802) - Biography
1734 Born in Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria
1755 Apprenticed to Kendal-based itinerant portraitist, Christopher Steele.
1756 Marries Mary (Molly) Abbott.
1757 Breaks apprenticeship with Steele.
John Romney, his son is born
1759-60 Makes reputation in north-west when he paints various members of two prominent Lakeland families.
1762 Paintings such as Memories of Windermere c.1761, included in lottery to raise funds both for his family and his move to London.
Romney moves to London without his family.
1765-67 Returns twice to the north-west, where he was still highly regarded, to paint commissions. When he returns to London the second time, it is last time he is believed to have seen his wife for over thirty years.
Moves to new lodgings in Great Newport Street and joins the artists' community around Covent Garden
1768-69 Paints The Leigh Family and The Warren Family which establish Romney as a chief rival to Reynolds.
1770 Starts to exhibit with the Incorporated Society of Artists and joins the Board of Directors.
1773-75 Visits Italy.
1775 Moves to London and into studios in Cavendish Square, part of the newly fashionable West End area.
1776 Receives patronage of Lord Gower. The Leveson-Gower Children, 1776-77 is painted.
Makes friends with the poet William Hayley
1780 Horace Walpole notes Romney's rise to fashion.
1781 Introduced to Emma Hart, later Lady Hamilton.
1786 Attends inaugural dinner of Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery.
1790 Completes Act I of Shakespeare's Tempest for the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery. Visits Paris during French Revolution and meets Jacques Louis David.
1794 Illness seriously curtails portrait practice for the first time.
1799 Romney returns, in ill health, to Kendal and his wife Molly.
1802 Dies in Kendal, Cumbria. Buried in Dalton.