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George Michael Moser RA (1706 - 1783)

RA Collection: People and Organisations

A Founder Member of the Royal Academy of Arts, George Michael Moser was an acclaimed artist and goldsmith who taught at the St Martin’s Lane Academy before serving as the first Keeper of the Royal Academy Schools.

Moser was born in Switzerland and began his training in Geneva, following his father into trade as a coppersmith. He moved to London aged 22 and initially worked for a furniture maker, before becoming a goldsmith. Moser quickly established himself as a versatile artist capable of working in several different media, most notably enamel painting and gold-chasing.

In 1729 Moser married Mary Guynier and in 1744, their only surviving child, Mary, was born. Moser tutored his daughter in art from a young age and she won her first artistic medal at 14.

Moser was a member of a fashionable circle of artists who frequently met in Slaughter’s Coffee House on St Martin’s Lane. This group would form the basis of the St Martin’s Lane Academy, which was established by the artist William Hogarth in 1735. The Academy chiefly operated as an informal club offering life-drawing classes, for which Moser became one of the drawing masters. He also began to take on private pupils and was appointed drawing master to the Prince of Wales, the future King George III.

During his career Moser completed a number of royal commissions, including an enamelled watch-case for Queen Charlotte, although few of these works survive. Together with his fellow members of the St Martin’s Academy, he is credited with introducing the rococo style to England, as exemplified by his Apollo and Daphne candlesticks.

In 1768 Moser joined with several other leading artists in petitioning the King to allow the formation of a Royal Academy of Arts. When the King agreed, both George Michael Moser and his daughter Mary Moser became Founder Members, with George Michael also taking on the role of Keeper of the Royal Academy Schools. He oversaw the artistic education of Schools students for the next 15 years, teaching pupils including William Blake.

Moser died in 1783. A eulogy written by Joshua Reynolds, the first President of the Royal Academy, praised him as possessing “a universal knowledge in all branches of painting and sculpture, which perfectly qualified him for the place that he held in the Academy… he may truly be said, in every sense, to be the father of the present race of artists.”

Profile

Royal Academician

Foundation Member

Born: 17 January 1706 in Schaffhausen, Germany

Died: 24 January 1783

Nationality: British

Elected RA: 10 December 1768

Keeper from: 1768 - 1783

Gender: Male

Preferred media: Painting, Enamelling, Chasing, Medal design, and Gem-engraving

Works by George Michael Moser in the RA Collection

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Works after George Michael Moser in the RA Collection

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Works associated with George Michael Moser in the RA Collection

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Associated books

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Associated archives

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