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John Cleveley (1712-1777)

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A marine painter
Known for

John Cleveley the Elder was a prominent Thames artist who had originally been a shipwright by profession.

His sons, Robert and John Junior, were also artists. They lived in Deptford and worked in the Royal Dockyard, sometimes as caulkers or in other shipyard professions.

Port connection
The Buckingham on the stocks at Deptford.
View full size imageThe Buckingham on the stocks at Deptford. © NMM
John Cleveley the Elder lived and worked at King’s Yard Row, near the Royal Dockyard in Deptford.

A many number of his paintings were of local scenes - mainly shipbuilding and ship launches - including the Buckingham on the stocks at Deptford.

He continued to work as a shipwright ‘in the pay of His Mjs Navy’ whilst being a professional artist.

Interesting facts

John's son, Robert Cleveley, died as a result of falling over a cliff at Dover.

Life story
1712Born in Southwark.
1726Apprenticed to a joiner.
1740sBecame a professional artist.
1765Exhibited at the Free Society of Artists in London.
1777Died at King's Yard Row, Deptford

Find out more
StoriesThe 18th-century port
London becomes a centre of finance, commerce and industry
National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory GreenwichNew Opportunities Fund 
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