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William Dobson - British Artist From Art History

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Historical Artist - William Dobson (1611 - 1646)

William Dobson began his career as a painter for Charles I court in Oxford. He was employed there from 1642 to 1646, completing around sixty known paintings during this time. His style of portraiture resembled that of Van Dyck, but also showed Venetian influence. His most famous painting, Endymion Porter, was praised for accurately portraying the English character. Dobson also painted other subjects, though only two of these paintings exist today: Executioner with the Baptist’s Head and Civil Wars of France. When Oxford was taken over by the Parliamentarians in 1646, he moved to London where he was imprisoned for debt and died not long after his release. Dobson is remembered as the most celebrated English-born painter before Hogarth. Around sixty of Dobson's works survive, mostly half-length portraits most of them dated from 1642 or later. The thick impasto of his early work gave way to a mere skim of paint, perhaps reflecting a wartime scarcity of materials.

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