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Jonathan Spilsbury (1737-1812)

Jonathan Spilsbury was born in Worcester and was apprenticed to a jappaner in Birmingham. He moved to London in 1757 and began to paint. In 1759 he painted the Prince of Wales (later King George III) and before long was producing engravings as well as portraits.

Spilsbury started to move in evangelical circles probably about the time that he moved to London. He attended Moravian worship and formally joined them in 1781. Spilsbury even had ambitions of becoming a Moravian minister although he never achieved this aim. He and his wife were close friends of Charles and Sarah Wesley. They are buried in the Bunhill Fields graveyard.

Spilsbury was married to Rebecca Chapman in 1775. Their daughter Maria (1777-1820) was a gifted artist in her own right. She exhibited at the Royal Academy at the age of sixteen and painted a portrait of John Wesley preaching in County Wicklow. 

Source: Portraits of John Fletcher of Madeley and their Artists by Peter Forsaith (Wesley Historical Society Proceedings 1990, 187).

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