Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Vendramini, Giovanni

VENDRAMINI, GIOVANNI (1769–1839), engraver, was born at Roncade, near Bassano, Italy, in 1769, and at the age of nineteen came to England and placed himself under Bartolozzi, one of whose ablest pupils he became, and to whose house at Fulham he succeeded in 1802. Among his early works, which are all in the stipple style, are ‘St. John the Baptist,’ after Raphael; five of the set of ‘Cries of London,’ after Wheatley; and ‘The Power of Love,’ after D. Pellegrini. About 1802 he became associated with Sir Robert Ker Porter [q. v.], whose panoramic pictures of the ‘Storming of Seringapatam,’ ‘The Passage of the Alps by the Russians under Suwarrow,’ and the ‘Death of Sir Ralph Abercromby,’ he engraved on a large scale between 1802 and 1805. At the same period he engraved Porter's ‘Twenty-six Illustrations to Anacreon.’ In 1805 Vendramini went to Russia, and was for two years in the employment of the czar, by whom his work was so much admired that, when he desired to leave, he was unable to obtain the necessary permission, and was obliged to effect his escape in disguise. After his return to England he produced many fine plates, both in stipple and line, chiefly from pictures by the old masters, including ‘Leda,’ after Leonardo da Vinci; ‘Vision of Saint Catherine,’ after Paul Veronese; ‘St. Sebastian,’ after Spagnoletto; and ‘Raising of Lazarus,’ from the picture by Sebastiano del Piombo now in the National Gallery. He died at his house in Regent Street, London, on 8 Feb. 1839. Vendramini married an Englishwoman of Portuguese origin, by whom he had two daughters.

Francesco Vendramini (fl. 1820), an engraver who was contemporary with Giovanni, and probably his brother, appears to have followed him to Russia and there settled. He practised both in stipple and line, and became a member of the Academy of Fine Arts at St. Petersburg. His finest and best known plate is the ‘Death of Peter Martyr,’ after Titian.

[Gent. Mag. 1839, i. 325; Bryan's Dict. of Painters and Engravers, ed. Armstrong; Andresen's Handbuch für Kupferstichsammler.]

F. M. O'D.