Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1672-1707 - Pall Mall (Westminster)

Painter Antonio Verrio was born about 1636 in Lecce. Having lived and worked in France for a number of years, he travelled to London in March 1672. He had been encouraged to do so by the English ambassador in Paris. Thanks to Ralph Montagu, Verrio made his English debut working for aristocrats and soon acquired the patronage of Charles II. By 1675, he had painted the allegorical portrait of the king known as The Sea Triumph of Charles II. The king granted him lodgings at Carlton House in St James’s Park (facing the south side of Pall Mall). Soon afterwards he was engaged to decorate the North Range of Windsor Castle. This was the biggest commission of his entire career. On completion, in 1684, Verrio was appointed Chief and First Painter’. At the Glorious Revolution, Catholic Verrio received no protection from William III and had to leave the court. By 1699, William finally overrode the Test Act and invited Verrio back. He undertook the decoration of Hampton Court where he had his lodgings. He died in June 1707. Verrio was responsible for introducing Baroque mural painting into England.

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