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.”
Born: 17 January 1706 in Schaffhausen, Germany
Died: 24 January 1783
Elected RA: 10 December 1768
Keeper from: 1768 - 1783
Preferred media: Painting, Enamelling, Chasing, Medal design, and Gem-engraving
Attributed to George Michael Moser RA
Design for the headpiece of the Royal Academy Diploma, 1769
Pen and ink with wash and white gouache on laid paper
George Dance RA
Portrait of George Michael Moser, R.A.
Pencil on off-white laid paper
Attributed to Johann Zoffany RA
The Antique School of the Royal Academy at New Somerset House, 1780-1783
Oil on canvas
James Northcote, to [Samuel Northcote]
19 Dec 1771
Joseph Wilton, Edward Penny, Richard Wilson, Benjamin West, William Chambers, G. M. Moser,
10 Nov 1768
Joseph Wilton, Edward Penny, Richard Wilson, G. M. Moser, Benjamin West, Paul Sandby,
10 Nov 1768
Receipt of G. M. Moser
14 Oct 1766