François Louis Thoams Francia

Born: 21 December 1772 in Calais, France
Died: 06 February 1839
Nationality: French
French watercolour painter and printmaker. He moved to England in 1790 and exhibited at the Royal Academy for the first time in 1795, exhibiting total of eighty-five exhibits there until 1822.

He was a founder member in 1799 (along with Thomas Girtin), and later secretary, of The Brothers, a society of professional and amateur watercolourists who gathered together to sketch from literary sources. He also joined the Associated Artists in Water Colours, and showed 103 works from its foundation in 1808 until 1812. Francia failed however to be elected an associate of the Royal Academy following the display in 1816 of two of his oil paintings of shipwreck subjects. In 1811 he was made painter in watercolours to the duchess of York. In 1800 he married the artist Maria Child, from whom he was later estranged.

He published two distinguished drawing manuals during his time in England. "Studies of Landscapes" (1810) includes more than fifty hand-coloured soft-ground etchings after sketches by Thomas Gainsborough, John Varley, Girtin, and others, and this was followed by "Progressive Lessons" (1813), which concentrates on the 'process of Sketching' and its relation to 'Painting … in Watercolours'. Francia was a prolific teacher and is remembered for his influence on young professional watercolour painters, particularly after his return to Calais, when he was able to pass on up-to-date ideas from London to a new generation of French artists. He gave lessons to William Wyld (1806-1889), Olivier Isaac (1802-1868), his own son, Alexandre (1813-1884), and many others, including, for a short time, Richard Parkes Bonington, whose watercolours of coastal views, in particular, display Francia's influence.
Works of Art: 0
Books: 1
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Francia, François Louis Thoams   Character of trees - London 1813