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George Heming Mason

1818 - 1872

Born in Staffordshire, Mason studied as a surgeon in Birmingham between 1839 and 1843, while taking lessons from the portraitist James John Hill. In autumn 1844, he left with his brother for Italy, settling in Rome in 1845. To make ends meet he painted souvenir views of the landscape around Rome.

From 1852 to 1857 he worked closely with the Italian landscape painter Giovanni Costa. Mason adjusted his style to that of Costa, absorbing his ideas, and together with other foreign painters, they founded a new school of landscape painting, which years later came to be known as the 'Etruscans'. In 1853 Mason met Lord Leighton, who was to make a permanent impression on him and support him in later years.