John Alexander Gresse (1741 - 1794)

RA Collection: People and Organisations

Painter, drawing-master, occasional engraver in London. Gresse was born in London in 1741. His father was a native of Rolle, on the Lake of Geneva, and owned a small property close to Oxford Street, on which the present streets, Stephen Street and Gresse Street, Rathbone Place, were built about 1771. Gresse studied drawing under Gerard Scotin, the engraver, and was one of the first students to work in the gallery of casts founded by the Duke of Richmond. In 1755 he obtained a premium at the Society of Arts for a drawing by a student under the age of fourteen years, and in 1759 he gained three premiums for drawings and studies from the human figure. He was successful again in 1761 and 1762, obtaining in all nine premiums before attaining the age of twenty-one.

He was for a short time pupil of Major the engraver, and worked for several years under Cipriani, profiting at the same time by the instruction of Zuccarelli. He was employed by John Boydell to make drawings.

In 1765 he became a member of the Incorporated Society of Artists, and exhibited with them for four years, chiefly miniatures. He became one of the most fashionable drawing-masters of his day. In 1777 he was appointed drawing-master to the royal princesses, and was soon a favourite at court. He occasionally practised etching, and etched the plates for Kennedy’s ‘Account of the Statues and Pictures at Wilton House’ (1769).


Born: 1741 in London

Died: 19 February 1794

Gender: Male

Works by John Alexander Gresse in the RA Collection

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Associated books

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