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Swaine, John (DNB00)

SWAINE, JOHN (1775–1860), draughtsman and engraver, son of John and Margaret Swaine, was born at Stanwell, Middlesex, on 26 June 1775, and became a pupil first of Jacob Schnebbelie [q. v.] and afterwards of Barak Longmate [q. v.] He is best known by his excellent facsimile copies of old prints, of which the most noteworthy are the Droeshout portrait of Shakespeare, Faithorne's portrait of Thomas Stanley, Loggan's frontispiece to the Book of Common Prayer, and the plates to Ottley's ‘History of Engraving,’ 1816, and Singer's ‘History of Playing Cards,’ 1816. He was also largely engaged upon the illustrations to scientific, topographical, and antiquarian works. He drew and engraved the whole series of plates in Marsden's ‘Oriental Coins,’ 1823–5, and many subjects of natural history for the transactions of the Linnean, Zoological, and Entomological societies. There are a few contemporary portraits by him, including one of Marshal Blücher, after F. Rehberg. Swaine was a constant contributor of plates to the ‘Gentleman's Magazine’ for fifty years, commencing in 1804. He died in Dean Street, Soho, London, on 25 Nov. 1860. In 1797 he married the daughter of his master, Barak Longmate. She died in October 1822.

John Barak Swaine (1815?–1838), his only son, studied in the schools of the Royal Academy, and while still a boy did some good antiquarian work. Drawings by him, illustrating papers by Alfred John Kempe [q. v.], appeared in ‘Archæologia,’ 1832 and 1834. In 1833 he was awarded the Isis gold medal of the Society of Arts for an etching, and in that year drew, etched, and published a large plate of the east window of St. Margaret's, Westminster. In 1834, having taken up oil painting, he visited The Hague and Paris to study and copy in the galleries there. In Paris he painted much and also tried his hand successfully at wood engraving. He engraved in mezzotint Rembrandt's ‘Spanish Officer,’ also a picture by himself entitled ‘The Dutch Governess,’ and a portrait of A. J. Kempe. In 1837 he etched a plate of the altar window at Hampton-Lucy in Warwickshire. Swaine was a versatile artist of great promise, but died at the age of twenty-three in Queen Street, Golden Square, London, on 28 March 1838 (Gent. Mag. 1838, i. 552).

[Gent. Mag. 1861 i. 337; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Stanwell Par. Reg.]

F. M. O'D.