Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Freeman, John (fl.1670-1720)

FREEMAN, JOHN (fl. 1670–1720), painter, had some repute as a history painter in the reign of Charles II. In early life he went to the West Indies, and narrowly escaped death by poisoning. He returned to England, and was much employed, although 'his Genius was so impair'd by that Attempt on his Life, that his latter Works fail'd of their usual Perfection.' He was considered a rival of Isaac Fuller [q. v.] He drew in the Academy that then existed, and latterly was scene painter to the play-house in Covent Garden. Some plates in R. Blome's 'History of the Old and New Testament' are probably from his designs. It is not known when he died, but he can hardly have lived till 1747, and be identical with the I. Freeman who drew the large view of 'The Trial of Lord Lovat in Westminster Hall.'

[De Piles's Lives of the Painters; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting.]

L. C.