Richard Corbould (1757-1831)
Though Richard Corbould was a wide-ranging painter and occasional etcher, he is best remembered as an illustrator, able to interpret a text with precision and sensitivity.
Richard Corbould was born in the Parish of St Edmund Lombard Street, London, on 18 April 1857. He studied under the landscape
draughtsman, Robert Marris, the son-in-law of Arthur Devis, and lodged with him in the early 1770s. A versatile artist who tried his
hand at many media and subjects, he first developed a specialism as a painter of English and Welsh landscapes in oil and watercolour. He
exhibited from 1776, when he showed three works at the Free Society, and from the following year began to exhibit regularly at the Royal
Academy of Arts (1777-1811), later showing also at the British Institution (1806-17).
From the early 1780s, Corbould was employed mainly as a book illustrator. He contributed to numerous periodicals – including The
Tatler, The Spectator and the Guardian – and principally to Cooke’s ‘pocket editions’ (1793-1802), of which the illustrations to Fielding’s
Amelia are representative. The delicate and detailed results, presented within decorative frames, are fine and characteristic examples of
illustration in the Age of Sensibility.
For some years, Corbould lived in John Street, off Tottenham Court Road. He died in Highgate on 26 July 1831, and was buried in the
Churchyard of St Andrew’s, Holborn. His two sons, George and Henry, had become artists under his tutelage, while Henry’s son,
Edward Henry Corbould, would become an illustrator.
His work is represented in the collections of the British Museum and the V&A; and Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.