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Robert Ladbrooke (1768 – 11 October 1842) was an English landscape painter who, along with John Crome, was a founder of the Norwich School of painters.

Early life

Ladbrooke was born in a humble position at Norwich in 1768. He was apprenticed when very young to an artist and printer named White, and for some years worked as a journeyman printer. While employed he made the acquaintance of John Crome, who was the same age as him, working for a house and sign-painter, and having similar tastes. The two youths became friends, living together, and devoting all their spare time to sketching and copying. They each married sisters of the name of Berney, and for two years they worked in partnership, Ladbrooke painting portraits and Crome landscapes which they sold for very small sums. Subsequently, Ladbrooke turned to landscape painting, in which he was successful.
Norwich Society of Artists

Crome and Ladbrooke took a leading part in the establishment of the Norwich Society of Artists in 1803. Ladbrooke contributed fourteen works to its first exhibition in 1805. In 1808, when Crome became president, Ladbrooke was elected vice-president.

In 1816 Ladbrooke, along with Joseph Stannard, who was earlier his pupil, along with John Thirtle, and a few other members, having ineffectually urged a modification of some of the rules, seceded from the society, and started a rival exhibition, but this proved a failure and was abandoned after three years.[1] Between 1804 and 1815 Ladbrooke was an occasional exhibitor at the Royal Academy, and until 1822 at the British Institution. He engaged successfully in teaching, and was able to retire many years before his death. Ladbrooke died at his house on Scoles' Green, Norwich, on 11 October 1842.

Ladbrooke painted chiefly of views of Norfolk scenery; but his reputation was never been more than local. He published aquatints of two of his pictures, "A View of the Fellmongers on the River near Bishop's Bridge" and "A View of Norwich Castle." His "Views of the Churches of Norfolk," a series of over 650 lithographic plates were published in five volumes in 1843.

Ladbrooke had four sons, all of whom were artists to varying degrees, with Henry and John Berney Ladbrooke achieving the most success.[2]
Henry Ladbrooke

Henry Ladbrooke (20 April 1800 – 18 November 1870), the second son, was born at Norwich on 20 April 1800. He wished to enter the church, but at his father's desire adopted landscape painting as a profession. He acquired some reputation, especially for his moonlight scenes, and exhibited occasionally at the British Institution and the Suffolk Street Gallery. He died on 18 November 1870.
John Berney Ladbrooke

John Berney Ladbrooke (1803 – 11 July 1879), Robert Ladbrooke's third son, was born in 1803. He became a pupil of John Crome, who was his uncle by marriage, whose manner he followed, and excelled in the representation of woodland scenery. He exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1821 and 1822, and frequently at the British Institution and the Suffolk Street Gallery up to 1873. He died at Mousehold, Norwich, on 11 July 1879.

A View of Norwich Castle and Cathedral, Norfolk.jpg
Beach Scene, Mundesley, Norfolk by Robert Ladbrooke.jpg
Beeston Regis from the 'Roman Camp' by Robert Ladbrooke.jpg
Wroxham Regatta by Robert Ladbrooke.jpg
Menai Suspension Bridge by Robert Ladbrooke.jpg


"Stannard, Joseph (DNB00)". wikisource.org. Retrieved September 26, 2014.

"British picture framemakers, 1610-1950 - L". npg.org.uk. Retrieved September 26, 2014.


This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: O'Donoghue, Freeman Marius (1892). "Ladbrooke, Robert". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 31. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

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