Philip James de Loutherbourg The Battle of Alexandria, 21 March 1801 1802


Born 1740
Died 1812
Nationalities German
Birth place Fulda or Strasbourg
Death place Chiswick

The son of a miniature painter and engraver of the same name, Philip James de Loutherbourg began his artistic training in Paris in around 1755. Specialising in landscape painting, he soon attracted notice for his atmospheric compositions, being made a member of the prestigious Académie Royale just over a decade later. The combination of an unhappy marriage and his increasing artistic ambitions, however, led him to leave Paris and to embark on a tour of several European nations, before travelling on to England in 1771. Once there, he settled in London, accepting an invitation from the actor-manager, David Garrick to paint a series of spectacular stage sets for the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane. His interest in technical innovation led to the 'Eidophusikon', a three-dimensional visual entertainment that used transparent images and light effects to create the illusion of moving through landscape. Loutherbourg was also a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy, to which he was elected a member in 1781.

Glossary terms

Glossary terms

History Painting

A term used to refer to images of important or memorable episodes from literary, historical or religious sources. These works are often large-scale and include complex arrangements of figures and objects in a landscape or architectural setting. Historically, it was revered as the highest form of painting.