Marcellus Laroon II (Biographical details)

Marcellus Laroon II (painter/draughtsman; Dutch; British; Male; 1648/1649 or 1653 - 1702)

Also known as

Laroon, Marcellus; Lauron, Marcellus


Also know as 'Old Laroon'; born in The Hague; to London by 1674; genre and drapery painter, mezzotinter; after being brought to England, he was trained as a painter by 'La Zoon' and Flessiers, and worked in his youth in York; in 1674 he became a member of the Painter-Stainers Company in London, and by 1679 had married the daughter of a rich builder, they lived at 4 Bow Street, Covent Garden, where they had six children; his son's memoir includes vivid reminiscences of the lessons in French, music, fencing and dancing that he was given at home; Laroon's main work was as a drapery painter, and served as assistant to Kneller (q.v.); in 1684 he painted a portrait of the king for Christ's Hospital, and is also recorded making history pieces and animal studies.
He was best known for his low-life genre scenes in the Dutch manner, which earned him Vertue's contempt: 'His thoughts in his pictures show him to be a man of levity, of loose conversation and morals suteable to his birth & education, being low & spurious. His essays in face painting in small & history had no great success' (I 147); Buckeridge is much more complimentary about his abilities; there can, however, be no doubt about his way of life, for he once got involved in a sword-fight in a London street which left him with his nose and lip almost severed (Vertue I 122); died of consumption on 11 March 1702, in his early fifties, at Richmond, where he was buried.
Laroon made two sets of drawings to be engraved; one was for Tempest's 'Cries of London', the other for 'The Art of Defence', a book on fencing by William Elder published in 1699; he also made eleven small etchings and five mezzotints himself, almost all of low-life subjects set in inns, usually showing two or three half-length figures; one (H.8) is pornographic.


R. Raines, 'Marcellus Laroon', 1966
S. Shesgreen, 'The Criers and Hawkers of London: Engravings and Drawings by Marcellus Laroon', 1990
A. Griffiths, 'The Print in Stuart Britain', BM 1998, p.258