Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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FRANCIS , JOHN DEFFETT ( 1815 - 1901 ), painter and collector ;

christened in S. Mary's church , Swansea , 2 June 1815 , the son of a Swansea coachbuilder , John Francis , and his wife Mary , and a younger brother of George Grant Francis (q.v.) , the antiquary . He devoted himself to painting , particularly portrait-painting , at an early age and eventually went to London where he became acquainted with Dickens , Thackeray , and Ruskin , and became one of the ‘founders of the Savage Club .’ He painted portraits of queen Victoria , Sir Robert Peel , and other notable persons, and several of these were engraved. He exhibited one picture at the Royal Academy in 1846 and several at other exhibitions between 1837 and 1860 . Francis 's assiduity as an art collector is remembered today by the existence of the Deffett Francis Art Gallery at Swansea , which contains the large collection of pictures and engravings which, with a considerable art library, he presented to the Swansea corporation during his lifetime. He also presented a similar large collection to the British Museum . He d. at Swansea 21 Feb. 1901 .

Sources:

  • T. M. Rees , Welsh painters, engravers and sculptors, 1527–1911 , 1912 ;
  • Graves , A Dictionary of Artists , 1893; another ed., 1901 ;
  • Thieme-Becker .

Author:

Megan Ellis, (1906-2001), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959