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Richard Houston

(1722 Dublin - 1775 London?)

Richard Houston ranked among the foremost mezzotint engravers of his time. Together with his fellow artist, James MacArdell, he was trained by John Brooks in Dublin. Around 1747, at about the same time as MacArdell, Houston moved to London, where he set up in business as an engraver and produced his best works. After his successful debut, Houston’s “dissolute way of life” (Thieme-Becker) made him dependent on other publishers, for whom he was obliged to make copies after plates of other engravers as well as graphic reproductions; he also spent some time in a debtors’ prison. Houston’s turbulent lifestyle made him one of the most colourful artistic figures of his time. He worked mostly after originals by Zoffany, Antoine Pesne, Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Frye.