Gardnor, John (DNB00)

GARDNOR, JOHN (1729–1808), painter, began life as a drawing-master, teaching drawing, painting, and calligraphy. As such he had an academy in Kensington Square. In 1763 he exhibited with the Free Society of Artists, sending two drawings with a specimen of penmanship. He exhibited with the same society in the following years up to 1767; in 1766 and 1767 contributions were also sent by ‘Mr. Gardnor's pupils.’ In 1767 he received a premium of twenty-five guineas from the Society of Arts. Gardnor seems now to have quitted the profession of drawing for the church, and took orders. In 1778 he was instituted to the vicarage of Battersea, which he continued to hold up to his death, which occurred on 6 Jan. 1808 at the age of 79; he was buried in Battersea Church. In 1782 Gardnor exhibited again, this time at the Royal Academy, sending two landscapes, and continued to be a frequent contributor of landscapes and views up to 1796. On 16 May 1787 Gardnor started with his nephew Richard on a tour to Paris, Geneva, Lausanne, Basle, Strasburg, and back down the Rhine. He made numerous drawings of the scenery on the Rhine, which he published in folio parts, the first of which appeared in 1788 entitled ‘Views taken on and near the River Rhine, at Aix-la-Chapelle, and on the River Maese.’ These views were engraved in aquatint by Gardnor himself, William and Elizabeth Ellis, Robert Dodd, Samuel Alken, and J. S. Robinson. A smaller edition was published in 1792, in which the aquatints were executed by Gardnor and his nephew. Gardnor also executed a series of views in Monmouthshire for D. Williams's ‘History’ of that county, published in 1796; they were engraved in aquatint by Gardnor himself and J. Hill. As vicar of Battersea Gardnor officiated on 18 Aug. 1782 at the wedding of William Blake [q. v.], the painter. In 1798 a sermon was printed which he preached before the armed association of Battersea.

Gardnor, Richard (fl. 1766–1793), drawing-master, nephew of the above, was apparently his pupil. In 1766 he exhibited with the Free Society of Artists, and from 1786 to 1793 at the Royal Academy. His contributions were landscapes and views. He accompanied his uncle during his tour on the Rhine, and assisted him to engrave the plates in aquatint for the published work.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760–1880; Manning and Bray's History of Surrey, iii. 341; Gardnor's Views on the River Rhine; Gilchrist's Life of Blake; Catalogues of the Free Society of Artists and Royal Academy.]

L. C.