John Thomas Serres




  Artist's Biography & Works For Sale


John Thomas Serres was an English maritime painter, born in London in December 1759 to Dominic Serres, a prominent painter and a founder of the Royal Academy. He enjoyed considerable success in his lifetime, exhibiting over 100 paintings at the Royal Academy and the British Institution. He also became Master of Drawing at the Royal Naval College in Chelsea and was also a maritime painter for King George III.

Serres’ career was damaged by his wife Olivia Serres who believed she was the illegitimate daughter of the Earl of Cumberland. Consequently, out of favour at the court and unable to earn enough money from painting, he invested in a theatre called the Royal Coburg Theatre in 1818. This theatre eventually became known as the ‘’Old Vic’’. However, due to his wife’s activities he was ruined again and died penniless in December 1825 in a debtor’s prison.

A painting by Serres called ‘Barges on a canal’ and dated 1797 was part of the collection from Mrs Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister and sold at Christie’s in London in December 2015.