James Northcote RA (Plymouth 22 October 1746 – 13 July 1831 London) was an English painter.
Northcote was born in Plymouth, and was apprenticed to his father, Samuel Northcote, a watchmaker. In his spare time, he drew and painted. In 1769 he left his father's work and set up as a portrait painter. Four years later he went to London and was admitted as a pupil into the studio and house of Sir Joshua Reynolds. At the same time he attended the Royal Academy schools.
In 1775 he left Reynolds' studio, and about two years later, having made some money by portrait painting back in Devon, he went to study in Italy. On his return to England, three years later, he revisited his native county, then settled in London, where John Opie and Henry Fuseli were his rivals. He was elected associate of the Academy in 1786, and full academician in the following spring. The Young Princes Murdered in the Tower, his first important work on a historical subject, dates from 1786, and it was followed by the Burial of the Princes in the Tower. Both paintings, along with seven others, were intended for Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery. His enormous Death of Wat Tyler was exhibited in 1787; commissioned by a London alderman, it hung in the Guildhall until its destruction during the Second World War...
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