English family of gem-engravers active in the export market to Russia. Nothing is known of the early training and apprenticeships of the brothers William Brown (1748-1825) and Charles Brown (1749-95), although their address in 1769 was that of the seal- and gem-engraver John Frewin. William exhibited at the Society of Arts from 1766 until 1770, when both brothers began to show annually at the Royal Academy, London (until 1785). William offered a large number of subjects from the Antique (e.g. Head of Hygeia, cornelian intaglio, before 1705; St Petersburg, Hermitage) and portraits of contemporaries, which were his forte; Charles rarely showed more than one gem at a time, among them the animal subjects for which he became famous (e.g. Horse Frightened by Lion, before 1782, after George Stubbs's painting; St Petersburg, Hermitage).
From The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.