Charles Exshaw, Painter and Engraver

(fl. 1747-1771)

Painter and Engraver

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Described by Strutt ("Dictionary of Engravers," 1786) as "a native of Holland," was born in Dublin, son of John Exshaw who died in 1746, and brother of Edward and John Exshaw, the well-known booksellers. Alderman John Exshaw, Lord Mayor in 1789-90, was his nephew. After receiving instruction as a pupil of Francis Bindon, the portrait painter, he left Ireland about 1747 and studied in Rome and in Paris. In 1749 he gained the large medal in the Academy of Painting in Paris "for his great proficiency in the art of limning," which was publicly presented to him, and "his name was posted in all the public places to render his merit the more conspicuous" ("Dublin Courant," 18th February, 1749). He subsequently worked in Amsterdam for some time as a pupil of C. Vanloo.

In 1755 he returned to Ireland, bringing with him a large collection of pictures, which in December of that year was advertised to be sold by auction at Geminiani's great rooms in Dame Street by George Spring, upholder and auctioneer. It was described as "a curious and valuable collection of paintings, statuary and drawings, most of them originals of the best masters, the property of Mr. Charles Exshaw, and others copied from capital pictures during a course of eight years' travel through France, Flanders and Italy, to the latter of which places he proposes to return some time next summer."

In 1762-3 Exshaw was again in Dublin and again had an auction of pictures, "To be sold on 10th February, 1762, at Geminiani's rooms, Dame Street, by James Chapman, of College Green, collection of French and Dutch pictures collected by Mr. Charles Exshaw during his absence of five years, including works from the collection of Count Colloredo, Amsterdam, from the Empress-Queen and Count de Venci." Another sale took place in May, 1764, of "the genuine collection of fine Italian, Dutch and Flemish pictures collected by Mr. Charles Exshaw from some of the most esteemed cabinets abroad."

Exshaw did not again go abroad, but in 1762 settled in London and set up an Academy in Maiden Lane for instruction in drawing, "in the manner of the Caracci," as he announced in an advertisement. The venture proved unsuccessful, only two pupils being attracted to his school, and these left in a short time. With a picture of "Edward the Black Prince entertaining the French King when a prisoner after the battle of Creçy," he competed for the premium offered for an historical painting by the Society for the Encouragement of Arts.

In 1764 he sent from Denmark Street, Soho, two works to the exhibition of the Society of Artists, a "View of Salisbury" and an "Old Man's Head." He was more successful as an engraver than as a painter; his etchings after Rembrandt are not without merit. Exshaw died early in the year 1771, and his drawings and pictures were sold by auction at Exeter Change in April of the same year. His chief engraved works are:

Four mezzotint Portraits of the Children of C. Vanloo, viz.:

1st. Anne Vanloo. Mezzotint and etching; C. Vanloo delineavit. C. Exshaw fecit.

2nd. Charles Vanloo. Mezzotint. Designed by Carlo Vanloo, done in mezzotinto by his Pupil Charles Exshaw.

3rd. Jacques Vanloo. Mezzotint. Designed by Carlo Vanloo, done in mezzotinto by his Pupil Exshaw 1757.

4th. Isabel Vanloo. Mezzotint. C. Vanloo delineavit. Exshaw fecit.

Head of an old Man with a Beard. Etching, after Rembrandt, 1758.

Joseph and Potiphar's Wife. Etching, after Rembrandt.

St. Peter's Bark in a Storm. Etching, after Rembrandt. Exshaw delineavit et Sculpt Amsterdam 1760.

A Girl with a basket of Cherries, and two Boys. Etching after Rubens.

Man Smoking a Pipe. Etching.

Bust of an old Man. Etching and mezzotint, after Rembrandt, 1758.

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