Abbeville, Hauts-de-France, France
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Watercolour over traces of pencil heightened with bodycolour. Born in Calais, Francia moved to London in 1790 and soon afterwards was employed as a teaching assistant at J.C. Barrow’s drawing academy. By 1795, he was exhibiting at the Royal Academy and in 1805 he set up as a drawing master in Kensington. In 1817, having failed to gain election as an Associate of the Royal Academy the previous year, he returned to Calais as Secretary to the British Consul there, where he remained for the rest of his life. At the end of 1817, Bonington moved to Calais with his family and soon encountered Francia who gave him lessons. Anthony Reed (op. cit.) dates the present watercolour to circa 1830.