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Sir Martin Archer Shee

1769 - 1850

Shee was born in Dublin; he studied and painted portraits there until 1788 when he moved to London. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1790 and was made President of the Academy in 1830, in succession to Lawrence. Shee also produced poems and other literary work.

This person is the subject of ongoing research. We have started by researching their relationship to the enslavement of people.

Biographical notes

Irish portrait painter and fifth president of the Royal Academy.

National Gallery Trustee (1831–1850).

Slavery connections

Martin Archer Shee’s sitters included owners of enslaved persons, e.g., John Cust, 1st Earl of Brownlow (National Trust, Belton House; q.v. Adelbert Wellington Brownlow Cust) and A.G. Storer (Museo Nacional del Prado).

Abolition connections

Martin Archer Shee’s sitters included abolitionists, e.g., William Roscoe (Walker Art Gallery).

Bibliography

History of Parliament Trust (ed.), The History of Parliament: British Political, Social & Local History [online], London, 1964 -
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R. Simon, 'Shee, Sir Martin Archer', in C. Matthew et al. (eds), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography [online], Oxford 1992 -
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J. Turner et al. (eds), Grove Art Online [online], Oxford 1998-
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UCL Department of History (ed.), Legacies of British Slave-ownership [online], London 2020
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