The Italian engraver and draughtsman Francesco Bartolozzi was born on 25th September 1728 in Florence. He studied painting and drawing with Giovanni Battista Cipriani (1727–85), under the tutelage of Ignatsi Hugford (1703–78). He collaborated on various publishing projects.
On 24th August 1748, Francesco Bartolozzi was employed at Giuseppe Wagner’s workshop in Venice, and later became its part owner. In 1754, he opened another workshop with Giuseppe Wagner, developing a successful publishing business. In 1764, Bartolozzi stayed briefly in Rome, and in the same year, he travelled to London at the invitation of Richard Dalton, George III’s librarian. Whilst in London, he made reproductions of Guernico drawings from the royal collection in Windsor. Francesco Bartolozzi became a member of the Society of Artists, and in 1768, a founding member of the Royal Academy of Artists.
Various students and copyists visited his London studio, where he employed 50 people. Bartolozzi also gave his students and aides permission to market his work in his name. His employment of the stippling method, a form of engraving that was in use from 1773, contributed to his success. Francesco Bartolozzi became the most popular reproduction engraver of his time, as well as the leading painter. He was commissioned by Angelika Kauffman to reproduce approximately 60 engravings of her works.
His son Gaetano Stefano’s illness drove him into desperate financial circumstances. In 1801, at the age of 73, the artist relocated to Lisbon and worked for the Prince Regent of Portugal. Francesco Bartolozzi was named director of the Art Academy and worked unceasingly as an engraver and teacher, until his death until 2nd March 1815.