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BROWN, ROBERT (d. 1753), historical and decorative painter, was a pupil of Sir James Thornhill, whom he assisted in painting the cupola of St. Paul's Cathedral. It is related on the authority of Highmore, that while engaged in this undertaking he and his master worked together on a scaffold, which was an open one. Thornhill had just completed the head of the apostle, and was retiring backwards in order to survey the effect; as he had just reached the edge, Brown, not having time to warn him, snatched up a pencil, full of colour, and dashed it upon the face. Thornhill enraged ran hastily forward, exclaiming, ‘Good God! what have you done?’ ‘I have only saved your life,’ was the reply. Brown was also assistant to Verrio and La Guerre, and then setting up for himself was employed to decorate several of the city churches, He painted the altar-piece in St. Andrew Undershaft, the ‘Transfiguration’ in St. Botolph, Aldgate, the figures of St. Andrew and St. John in St. Andrew's, Holborn, and those of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist in the chapel of St. John, Bedford Row. He also painted some portraits. Brown was the master of Hayman, and died 26 Dec. 1753. A few of his works have been engraved in mezzotinto: ‘The Annunciation,’ by Valentine Green; ‘Salvator Mundi’ (two plates), by James McArdell; ‘Our Saviour and St. John the Baptist,’ by Richard Earlom; and ‘Geography,’ by J. Faber.

[Redgrave's Dictionary of Artists, 878]

L. F.