Print-maker Luigi [Lewis, Louis] Schiavonetti was born on 1 April 1765 in Bassano del Grappo, Vicenza, the son a paper manufacturer. He was taught to draw by Julius Golini and later received instruction from the engraver Ambrosio Orio. About 1790 he went to London to work under Francesco Bartolozzi, with whom he lived for a while at North End, Fulham. He then worked for himself and was joined by his younger brother Niccolò.
The brothers lived and worked at no. 12 Michael’s Place (now: no. 231 Brompton Road). Here they entered into print publishing. Luigi’s versatility in stipple, line, and etching ensured a varied output. His talents were required for book illustrations, decorative prints, calling cards, and works after old masters, portraitists, and historical artists.
The most important works in which he was involved include Francis Wheatley’s Cries of London (1793/7). For the nine-volume The Dramatic Works of Shakespeare (1802/3), revised by George Steevens and published by John Boydell, he engraved number of plates. A new edition of Robert Blair’s The Grave in 1808 was illustrated by twelve of Schiavonetti’s etchings after original designs by William Blake. Schiavonetti died at his home in Brompton in June 1810. His funeral at St Mary’s churchyard, Paddington, was attended by many eminent artists. Benjamin West, President of the Royal Academy, was one of the pallbearers.