John LinnellLinnell was born in Bloomsbury, London. His father was a carver and gilder and Linnell was brought into contact with artists from an early age, and was drawing and selling portraits in chalk and pencil at the age of 10. His first artistic instruction was received from Benjamin West, and he spent a year in the house of John Varley the water-colour painter, where he had William Hunt and William Mulready as fellow-pupils, and made the acquaintance of Shelley, Godwin and other men of mark. In 1805 he was admitted a student of the Royal Academy, where he obtained medals for drawing, modelling and sculpture. He was trained as an engraver, and executed a transcript of Varley's "Burial of Saul."rLinnell was one of the best friends and kindest patrons of William Blake. rrAt first he supported himself mainly by miniature painting and execution of larger portraits, such as the likenesses of Mulready, Richard Whately, Peel and Thomas Carlyle. Several of his portraits he engraved in line and mezzotint.