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Johann Zoffany

1733? - 1810

Zoffany was the leading exponent of the Conversation Piece in England in the later 18th century. He worked in London from 1760, and received encouragement from the actor David Garrick. He gained popularity for his carefully painted theatrical scenes and conversation pieces, one of which includes Queen Charlotte and her children.

Zoffany was born near Frankfurt am Main and trained by Martin Speer in Regensburg, where his father was employed as a court architect and cabinet maker. He visited Rome in 1750 and was influenced by Mengs while studying with Agostino Masucci. He moved to London in 1760, and first exhibited at the Society of Artists in 1762, becoming a member of the Royal Academy in 1769. He was then active in Florence and Vienna. His work declined in popularity after his return to England in 1779 and from 1783 to 1789 he worked in India. He exhibited at the academy for the last time in 1800.