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George Cuit (1743-1818)

George Cuit (1743-1818)

Though George Cuit travelled as far as Italy, he made his reputation in Yorkshire, close to home; so he represents one of many regional schools of watercolour painting that developed through the later eighteenth century.

The son of a builder, George Cuit was born in Moulton near Richmond, Yorkshire on 8 September 1743. Educated at Richmond School, he showed an early talent for drawing, and was taken up by Sir Lawrence Dundas of Aske Hall. In 1769, Dundas sent him to study painting in Italy, in the company of his former school friend, the architect Thomas Harrison, and he remained there for six years.

On his return to England, Cuit attempted to establish himself in London, and began to exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts (1776-1798). However, hampered by ill health, he returned to Richmond within two years. There he enjoyed a career as a landscape and portrait painter in oil and watercolour for over two decades. He also worked as a drawing master, numbering among his pupils William Young Ottley (collector and early British historian of Italian painting). In 1788, he collaborated with Robert Coatsworth in painting the scenery for the opening productions of Richmond’s Theatre Royal. In the same period, he worked for the former naval captain Constantine Phipps who, as Baron Mulgrave, commissioned a set of views of Yorkshire ports visited by Captain Cook. He died in Richmond on 7 February 1818, a month after his wife.

His son, George Cuitt, painter and etcher, may have added an extra ‘t’ to his name to distinguish himself from his father.

His work is represented in the Government Art Collection, the Societies of Antiquaries of London and York Minster Library; and the following public collections: the British Museum; Leeds Art Gallery, Wakefield Art Gallery and Whitby Museum; and the Yale Center for British Art (New Haven).

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