The biography of John Wootton (1682 - 1764)
John Wootton (1682 - 1764) was a popular eighteenth-century English painter who shows the influences of Italian, French and German schools of painting. He was noted in England for his paintings of sporting subjects, battle scenes and landscapes, especially those with horses. He specialized very successfully in horse subjects, but his main contribution to British painting was the introduction of the ideal landscape.
John Wootton was born in Snitterfield, Warwickshire (near Stratford-upon-Avon) likely in 1682. He probably received some instruction from Jan Wyck in the 1690s, and he was possibly patronized from an early age by the aristocratic households of Beaufort and Coventry, perhaps while working as a page to Lady Anne Somerset at Snitterfield House, Warwicks. John Wootton was a subscriber to the first English Academy of Painting and Drawing in 1711 and by 1717 had been elected a steward of the Virtuosi Club of St Lukes. John Wootton died in London on November 13, 1764.
John Wootton was considered the finest practitioner of the genre in his day. As such, his paintings were very fashionable and were sought after by those among the highest strata of the British society. These included figures such as George II of England, Frederick, Prince of Wales, and the Duke of Marlborough.
His circle of friends included writers and poets, among them John Gay, Alexander Pope, Matthew Prior and Jonathan Swift. Prior, Gay and Pope all owned pictures painted by Wootton.
Examples of his animal painting can be found in the Tate Gallery, London, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, and the Yale Center for British Art, and in the Elizabethan Great Hall at Longleat.