JOHN WOOTTON ?1682–1764
Painter of sporting pictures, battle scenes and landscapes. Born (?) Snitterfield, Warwickshire; probably encouraged to take up painting by the Countess of Coventry. Studied under John Wyck (1652–1700), who had a direct influence on Wootton's early battle and hunting scenes. Had probably settled in London by 1700; married there (i) in 1706, (ii) in 1716.
Wootton's reputation was established by 1714. In 1717, elected Steward of the Virtuosi Club of St Luke's, and is included in Gawen Hamilton's portrait group ‘Conversation of Virtuosi’ (National Portrait Gallery). Vertue noted in 1728 that Wootton was ‘in great Vogue and favour with many persons of Ye greatest quality’ (III, p.34); his patrons included George II, Frederick, Prince of Wales, the Dukes of Bedford, Marlborough, Rutland and Richmond, as well as his first major patron, Edward Harley, Earl of Oxford; large pictures survive in situ at Althorp, Badminton and Longleat. By 1741 he is said to have commanded ‘the greatest price of any man in England’ (quoted by Meyer, p.7).
Wootton's earliest dated topographical landscape is of 1716; later painted many classical landscapes in the style of Gaspard Dughet. Sold pictures from his studio and his collection of prints and drawings 1761; died in London 13 November 1764.
EXHIBITIONS Arline Meyer, John Wootton 1682–1764: Landscapes and sporting art in early Georgian England, Kenwood 1984
Elizabeth Einberg and Judy Egerton, The Age of Hogarth: British Painters Born 1675-1709, Tate Gallery Collections, II, London 1988