Mosses, Alexander (DNB00)


MOSSES, ALEXANDER (1793–1837), artist, born in 1793, was the son of a Liverpool tradesman. At an early age he showed a talent for drawing, but he had no instruction in art. He became nevertheless a masterly draughtsman and colourist. In the exhibition of the Liverpool Academy for 1811 he is represented by a 'View of Birkenhead Priory,' and in the following years by landscapes and figure pictures. In the catalogue of 1827 his name appears as 'Master of the Drawing Academy, and he is represented by twelve works, among them the portraits of Edward Rushton, now hanging in the magistrates' room at the police office, Dale Street; of George Lyon, of William Swainson, F.R.S., F.L.S., and of Thomas Stewart Trail, M.D., president of the Liverpool Royal Institution, now in the Liverpool Institute. In 1829 he exhibited ' Christ's Agony in the Garden,' and 'The Expulsion from Paradise.' In 1831 he exhibited five pictures, the chief of which was the full-length portrait of Thomas (afterwards Sir Thomas) Branker, mayor of Liverpool. This excellent work is in the town-hall, Liverpool. In 1836 he exhibited a fine portrait of Dr. Rutter, now in the Royal Institution, Liverpool. He also painted the portrait of the Rev. John Yates of Liverpool, which was engraved by F. Engleheart. His only exhibit at the Royal Academy was in 1820, 'Dhama Rama and Munhi Rathama, two Budhist Priests from the Island of Ceylon.'

Mosses also practised as a teacher of drawing, among other places, at the Liverpool Royal Institution. One of his pupils there, William Daniels, rose to some note as an artist in Liverpool. A picture by Mosses, of blind Howard, a well-known inmate of the Blind Asylum, and his children, was engraved; another of a butcher lad, showing the town of Liverpool in the distance, was engraved on steel by H. Robinson. He died at his house, 18 Pleasant Street, Liverpool, 14 July 1837, leaving a widow and two sons. A portrait by himself, and a bust of him by Lyon, are in the possession of his grandson, his only living descendant. He is represented in the permanent collection in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, by a fine portrait of William Ewart, father of William Ewart, M.P. for Liverpool. This was presented in 1873 by Mr. W. E. Gladstone, M.P.

[Liverpool Lantern, 15 Jan. 1881; Liverpool Mercury, 21 July 1837; Liverpool Exhibition Catalogues; information supplied by Mrs. Bridger and Mr. Thomas Formby.]

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