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George Vertue

George Vertue (1684-1756) was a British engraver and antiquary, whose notebooks on British art of the first half of the 18th century are a valuable source for the period.

Vertue was born in 1684 in St Martinís-in-the-Fields , London. At the age of 13 he was apprenticed to a heraldic engraver of French origin. Afterwards, as an engraver, he worked seven years under Michael Vandergucht . During this time and later, he executed more than five hundred engraved portraits. In 1711 he was among the first member's of Godfrey Kneller's London Academy of Painting. In 1717 he was appointed engraver to the Society of Antiquaries. From 1713 on, Vertue had also been a keen researcher on details of the history of British art, accumulating about forty volumes of notebooks, which were purchased after his death by Horace Walpole. Although disorderly and mainly unreflective, Walpole based his Anecdotes of Painting in England (5 vols., 1762-1771) on these notes. The original wording of the manuscripts was only published in the 20th century by the Walpole Society. Vertue died in London on the July 24, 1756.


  • George Vertue, "Notebooks", The Volume of the Walpole Society, XVIII (1929-1930), XX (1931-1932), XXII (1933-1934), XXIV (1935-1936), XXVI (1937-1938), XXIV (1947; Index), XXX (1951-1952; Index).
  • Ilaria Bignamini, "George Vertue, Art Historian," The Volume of the Walpole Society, 54 (1988), 2-18.

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Last updated: 03-02-2005 13:19:21