CHAPMAN, JAMES

(d. 1792)

Landscape Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

An English artist who had studied under a Dutch painter in Long Acre, London. Coming to Dublin he practised for a time as a landscape painter; he painted a "View of Stephen's Green," and also did some copies of Canaletto's "Views of Venice." Not succeeding as a painter he became a picture cleaner, dealer and auctioneer, and established himself in, or before, 1771 at the Lyceum, Spring Gardens, Dame Street, formerly Geminiani's Concert Rooms, which he converted into "Chapman's Picture Auction Rooms." Here he held sales of pictures, books, etc., and for many years had a monopoly of picture sales in Dublin. He also used the rooms for other purposes. In 1772 the Dublin newspapers advertised an elephant "to be shown for sixpence at Chapman's Rooms, Spring Gardens," and in 1773 the famous conjurer Katerfelto was performing there. Towards the end of the century Chapman's advertisements were issued from 32 Anglesea Street and 7 College Green, and there he sold in 1791 the effects of Earl Fitzwilliam. Chapman exploited the two unfortunate artists, Rogers and Butts (q.v.); a liberal supply of liquor being nearly all the recompense they got from their employer. The accounts of Trinity College record a payment to him in 1773 for "mending a bishop and repairing a Queen." His business as a picture cleaner and auctioneer was a profitable one; but he was of intemperate habits and died in indigence, in Dublin, in 1792.

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