Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Angelis, Peter

ANGELIS, PETER (1685–1734), painter, was born in Dunkirk on 5 Nov. 1685. His real name was Angillis, as is shown by the registry preserved in his native place. We have chosen to keep the name Angelis, which is that by which in England he has always been known. Other forms are Angiles, Angelus, Anchillus, &c. Van Gool says that he knew ‘Anchilus’ in London in 1727, and that he had then been settled there eight years. It seems indeed to be the fact that he came to England about 1719. Redgrave gives 1712 as the date of his arrival, which is certainly too early, because we know that he was painting in Antwerp in 1716, and some time between September in that year and September 1715 he was enrolled there a member of the Painters' Guild of St. Luke. These facts receive confirmation from the unpublished ‘Notices’ of Jacob Van der Sanden, now or lately in the possession of Mme. Moons Van der Starten of Antwerp. Sanden says that ‘Angillis,’ having come to Antwerp, worked for the painter, Jean Baptiste Bouttats; that he went next to Düsseldorf, came back again to Antwerp, and remained three years. In 1728 he sold his pictures by auction and went to Rome. Amongst them were the four copies after Rubens and Snyders, now in the ‘Hermitage’ at St. Petersburg. The originals of these pictures were at Houghton, so it seems probable that the sale took place in England. He stayed three years in Rome, and his pictures were much esteemed. His reserved manner and disinclination to exhibit his work are said, however, to have damaged him from a worldly point of view. On his return from Rome he made a stay at Rennes, in Brittany, and was at once so overwhelmed with employment that he settled and died in that city in 1734. While in England his portrait was painted by Hans Huyssing. Angelis was a painter of landscapes and conversation pieces. The foregrounds of his landscapes are occupied by small figures and various still-life representations of fruit, fish, &c. He formed his style upon Teniers and Watteau, his own paintings holding a middle place between those of his masters. Later in life he fell under the influence of Rubens and Vandyck. He was a good draughtsman, but his colouring was weak and unsatisfactory. In England he was very popular.

[Archives of the Guild of St. Luke in the Academy at Antwerp; unpublished ‘Notices’ of J. Van der Sanden; Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting; Van Gool's Nederlantsche Kunstschilders, ii. 138; Nagler's Künstler-Lexicon, 2nd edition.]

E. R.