Ladbrooke, Robert (DNB00)

LADBROOKE, ROBERT (1768–1842), landscape-painter, born in a humble position at Norwich in 1768, was apprenticed when very young to an artist and printer named White, and for some years worked as a journeyman printer. While so engaged he made the acquaintance of John Crome [q. v.], then a lad of about his own age, who was working for a house- and sign-painter, and having congenial tastes they became fast friends, living together, and devoting all their spare time to sketching and copying. They married, early, two sisters of the name of Berney, and for two years worked in partnership, Ladbrooke painting portraits and Crome landscapes, which they sold for very small sums. Subsequently Ladbrooke also turned to landscape-painting, in which he was highly successful. Crome and Ladbrooke took a leading part in the establishment of the celebrated Norwich Society of Artists in 1803, and to its first exhibition in 1805 the latter contributed fourteen works. In 1808, when Crome became president, Ladbrooke was elected vice-president. In 1816 he, with Stannard, Thirtle, and a few other members, having ineffectually urged a modification of some of the rules, seceded from the society, and started a rival exhibition, but this proved a failure, and was abandoned after three years. Between 1804 and 1815 Ladbrooke was an occasional exhibitor at the Royal Academy, and up to 1822 at the British Institution. He engaged successfully in teaching, and was able to retire with a competence many years before his death. He died at his house on Scoles' Green, Norwich, on 11 Oct. 1842.

Ladbrooke was a clever painter, chiefly of views of Norfolk scenery; but his reputation has never been more than local. He published aquatints of two of his pictures, ‘A View of the Fellmongers on the River near Bishop's Bridge’ and ‘A View of Norwich Castle.’ His ‘Views of the Churches of Norfolk,’ a series of over 650 lithographic plates, were published in five volumes in 1843. Two of Ladbrooke's sons were well-known artists.

Ladbrooke, Henry (1800–1870), the second son, was born at Norwich on 20 April 1800. He wished to enter the church, but at his father's desire adopted landscape-painting as a profession. He acquired some reputation, especially for his moonlight scenes, and exhibited occasionally at the British Institution and the Suffolk Street Gallery. He died on 18 Nov. 1870.

Ladbrooke, John Berney (1803–1879), Robert Ladbrooke's third son, was born in 1803. He became a pupil of John Crome (his uncle by marriage), whose manner he followed, and excelled in the representation of woodland scenery. He exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1821 and 1822, and frequently at the British Institution and the Suffolk Street Gallery up to 1873. He died at Mousehold, Norwich, on 11 July 1879.

[Norwich Mercury, 15 Oct. 1842; Wodderspoon's John Crome and his Works, 1876; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Royal Academy and British Institution Catalogues; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760–1880; Times, 29 July 1879.]

F. M. O'D.