John Seymour Lucas RA

British, (1849-1923)
The Surrender of Don Pedro De Valdez to Sir Francis Drake
Oil on canvas, signed & dated 1889

This fantastic historical scene by John Seymour Lucas depicts the surrender of Don Pedro De Valdez to Sir Francis Drake, aboard the Revenge during the Spanish Armada off Portland on 1 August, 1588. Don Pedro de Valdez was the commander of the Squadron of Andalusia and was on board the Nuestra Señora del Rosario when it was taken in action by Drake in the Revenge. A full sized version of this painting is held by the National Trust and can be found at Buckland Abbey, Devon.

John Seymour Lucas was born in London on 21 December, 1849 to Henry and Elizabeth Lucas (née Seymour). He was the nephew of the portrait painter John Lucas and two of his children, Sydney Seymour Lucas and Marie Ellen Seymour Lucas also became artists. His father was a coach joiner and Lucas initially trained as a woodcarver, however, encouraged by his uncle he became an apprentice to a sculptor. At the age of 16, he decided to pursue a career in painting and began studying with his cousin John Templeton Lucas (1836-1880) in his spare time before attending the St. Martin's Lane Art School. By 1871, he had entered the Royal Academy School and during the same year began exhibiting at the Royal Society of British Artists (RSBA). In 1872, he made his debut at the Royal Academy exhibitions. He was later elected an associate member of the RA in 1876 and a full Academician in 1898.

In 1877, he married the Parisian artist Marie Cornelissen (1850-1921) who was the daughter of the artist and colourman Louis Cornelissen. She attended the St Martin’s Lane and Royal Academy schools where they met and also went on to exhibit at the RA and RSBA. Later in the same year, Lucas was elected a member of the New Society of Painters in Watercolours. He continued his artistic education, travelling around Europe where he studied the Flemish and Spanish Masters and was particularly inspired by van Dyck and Velázquez. On his return, he began painting historical scenes from the 16th to 18th century including the Spanish Armada, English Civil War and the Jacobite rebellions. His works were highly detailed and contained accurate portrayals of period costumes and interiors.

During the late 1880’s his reputation flourished and he became friends with John Singer Sargent. A portrait of him by Singer Sargent is held at the National Portrait Gallery. His success led to commissions for a number of major works for prestigious public buildings and royal clients including Queen Victoria. As well as producing paintings, he also designed sets and costumes for theatres.

From 1882, he lived at Woodchurch Road in Hampstead where he built a studio. Towards the end of World War I, Lucas moved to Blythburgh, Suffolk where he remained until his death on 8 May, 1923. His works can be found in a number of public collections including Bristol Museum, Hartlepool Museum, Laing Art Gallery, Orleans House Gallery, Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Armouries Museum, the Tate, Victoria & Albert Museum, Walker Art Gallery, Wolverhampton Art Gallery and more.

© Benton Fine Art

Presentation The painting is housed in a new, English made gilt frame which is in excellent condition.
Condition As with all of our original antique oil paintings, this work is offered in ready to hang gallery condition, having been professionally cleaned, restored and revarnished.
Image Size 19.5 inches x 30.5 inches (49.5cm x 77.5cm)
Framed Size 27 inches x 38 inches (68.5cm x 96.5cm)