Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lewis, George Robert

LEWIS, GEORGE ROBERT (1782–1871), painter of landscapes and portraits, younger brother of Frederick Christian Lewis [q. v.] and of Charles Lewis [q. v.], the bookbinder, was born in London on 27 March 1782. He studied under Fuseli in the schools of the Royal Academy, and sent landscapes to the exhibitions of 1805–7; he at that time resided with his brother Frederick at Enfield, and was employed with him upon Chamberlaine's ‘Original Designs of the most celebrated Masters’ and Ottley's ‘Italian School of Design,’ for both of which works he executed some good aquatint plates. In 1818 Lewis accompanied Dr. Dibdin, in the capacity of draughtsman, on his continental journey, and his illustrations to the ‘Bibliographical and Picturesque Tour through France and Germany,’ published in 1821, form the most valuable part of that work. From other sketches which he made at the same time he etched a series of clever ‘Groups illustrating the Physiognomy, Manners, and Character of the People of France and Germany,’ which was issued in parts, and completed in 1823. Lewis had previously executed some of the plates for Dibdin's ‘Bibliographical Decameron,’ 1817, in which he and his brothers Frederick and Charles are highly eulogised. He was a very versatile artist and an enthusiastic student both of nature and antiquities. From 1820 to 1859 he exhibited portraits, landscapes, and figure subjects at the Royal Academy, the British Institution, the Suffolk Street Gallery, and the Oil and Water-colour Society, and he published, among other works, ‘Views of the Muscles of the Human Body,’ 1820; ‘Banks of the Loire illustrated—Tours;’ ‘Illustrations of Phrenology,’ 1841; ‘Illustrations of Kilpeck Church, Herefordshire, with an Essay on Ecclesiastical Design and a Descriptive Interpretation,’ 1842; ‘The Ancient Font of Little Walsingham Church,’ 1843; and ‘The Ancient Church of Shobdon, Herefordshire, illustrated and described,’ 1852; reissued in 1856. Several of Lewis's portraits have been engraved, and he aquatinted a large plate of the procession of the knights of the order of the Bath in Westminster Abbey, after F. Nash. In 1838 Lewis printed at Hereford ‘An Address on the subject of Education as connected with Design in every department of British Manufacture, together with Hints on the Education of the Poor generally.’ He died at Hampstead on 15 May 1871.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760–1880; Dibdin's Bibliographical Decameron, 1817, ii. 520; Roget's Hist. of the Old Water-colour Soc.; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

F. M. O'D.