Jan Griffier (Biographical details)

Jan Griffier (painter/draughtsman; Dutch; British; Male; 1645/52 - 1718)

Also known as

Griffier, Jan; Griffier, Jan Sr.; Griffier I, Jan; Griffier, John


Landscape painter, who made a few etchings and mezzotints; father of Jan (II) and Robert. Born about 1645 in Amsterdam, trained with Roelant Roghman. Most of what is known about his life comes from Vertue, who got his information from Griffier's son, also called Jan and also a painter (I 50-1). He was trained as a painter in Amsterdam, and first appears in London soon after the Great Fire of 1666. He specialised in landscapes and made views along the Thames from a yacht he sailed himself. In 1695 he sailed back with his family to Holland in his yacht, and was shipwrecked. He remained in the Netherlands for a decade, and returned to London around 1707, where he lived in a retired way in a house on Millbank earning his living by copying or faking the works of other masters. He died in London. He was never a significant figure in England, and Buckeridge does not mention him. Although primarily a painter, Griffier made a number of accomplished etchings and mezzotints. Of these there is only a catalogue of nine portrait mezzotints in Chaloner Smith, and a rudimentary list in Hollstein, who mentions two mezzotints and seventeen etchings. Most of the etchings are after animal and bird drawings by Barlow, and were made in the 1680s for Pierce Tempest who included them in two sets, of which the remaining plates were etched by Francis Place.