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Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Francis Stephen Cary
10 May 1808 – 6 January 1880

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Francis Stephen Cary

Francis Stephen Cary was born in Kingsbury in Warwickshire, a younger son of the Rev. Henry Francis Cary, (author, and translator of Dante) who was the local vicar. His brother Henry became a judge in New South Wales in Australia.

Cary was educated at home, chiefly by his father, before becoming a pupil of Henry Sass at the latter’s well-known art academy in Bloomsbury, London. He later became a student at the Royal Academy and for a short time painted in the studio of Sir Thomas Lawrence. Lawrence died before he could have become a pupil.

In 1829, Cary studied in Paris and afterwards in Italy and in the Art School at Munich. In 1833, 1834 and 1836, he accompanied his father on a foreign tour. In the following years he exhibited several pictures at the Society of British Artists and other venues.

In 1841, he married Louisa, daughter of Charles Allen Philipps of St. Bride’s Hill, Pembrokeshire. The following year he took over the management of Sass’s Art School in Bloomsbury, founded by Henry Sass on the model of the Italian Bolognese School of painting. – the school at which he had previously studied. Cary continued to exhibit pictures for some years at the Royal Academy and elsewhere, and was a candidate in the Westminster Hall competitions for the decoration of the Houses of Parliament, held in 1844 and 1847.

At the Bloomsbury Art School many of the prominent painters and sculptors of the day, such as Charles West Cope, John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Henry Hugh Armstead, James Hayllar etc., received their early art education, as did several female artists such as Anna Mary Howitt and Jane Benham Hay, at a time when other such opportunities were still closed to them.

In 1874, Cary retired to Abinger in Surrey, where he died on 6 January 1880. He left no family. In the early part of his life, through his father’s social connections, he enjoyed much of the literary society of that day. He painted an interesting portrait of Charles and Mary Lamb, commissioned by John Mathew Gutch.

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