Hugh Primrose Dean, Landscape Painter

(fl. 1758-1784)

Landscape Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was third son of Alexander Dean of Donaghadee and afterwards of Kinsale, and Grizell Kennedy, also of Donaghadee, both of Scottish descent.* In 1758 he was living with his brother David, a carpenter and builder, at Castle Hyde, Co. Cork, and on the 27th December, 1761, he was married in Christ Church, Cork, to Eleanor Gamble. He probably learned his art in Cork, though nothing is known of his early life as an artist; but in 1765 he was in London, at the corner of Heathcock Court, Strand, and sent three landscapes to the exhibition of the Free Society and was awarded a premium of ten guineas by the Society of Arts for a landscape. He also exhibited with the Society of Artists in 1766, 1767, and 1768. Some of his exhibited works were views on the Danube and the Elbe, so that he had apparently spent some time abroad. Of insinuating manners and address and of some ability as an artist he obtained the patronage of Henry, second Viscount Palmerston, who enabled him to visit Rome. He sent from there a "View of Naples" to the Society of Artists in 1773. He was in Florence in 1776, and was elected a member of the Florentine Academy.

On leaving England he had abandoned his wife and son, but Lord Palmerston hearing of this sent them out to him and they arrived unexpectedly in Florence, much to the artist's consternation. He persuaded his wife to return to England, but kept his son whom he soon afterwards placed on board a ship in the Mediterranean Fleet under Admiral Mann. He was in Rome again in 1777 and sent a picture, "Lago Averno near Naples," to the Royal Academy. Next year he had two landscapes in the exhibition of the Society of Artists and soon afterwards returned to London. In 1779 he exhibited in the Academy "An Eruption of Mount Vesuvius," and in 1780 "The Banks of the Tiber." In the same year he had five landscapes with the Society of Artists, and exhibited a transparency of his "Eruption of Mount Vesuvius" in a large room in Great Hart Street, Covent Garden. With this he also showed a number of Italian views done in black chalk by an Italian artist he had employed in Rome. By this time, through his misconduct, he had lost the favour of his patron, Lord Palmerston, and had made but little way as a painter in London. A year or two afterwards he appeared in a new character, as a Methodist preacher, but did not long survive his change of profession. He died about the year 1784.

P. Benazech engraved in 1783 the "Sepulchre in memory of Horatii and Curiatii," after a picture by him; and a drawing, "Vallambrosa, near Florence," was engraved by W. Thomas for the "European Magazine," 1791.

*Alexander Dean had two other sons, Kennedy Dean, a carpenter in the Navy and afterwards employed in Gosport dockyard, who died in 1796; and David Dean, a builder, who died in Cork in 1800. This David had two sons—1st, William, a builder and architect, who was father of William, also an architect, killed by the fall of a wall in 1808, and 2nd, Alexander, father of Sir Thomas Deane, architect, President of the R.H.A., 1866-68, died 1871, who was father of Sir Thomas Newenham Deane, architect, died 1899, whose son is the present Sir Thomas Manly Deane, architect, R.H.A.

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