(b Clonlisk, nr. Shinrone, King's Co. [now Co. Offaly], c.1675; d London, 2 Nov. 1739). Irish painter, active mainly in London. His surname was pronounced, and often spelled, Jarvis. After studying with Kneller he spent ten years in Italy, mainly Rome, before settling in London in 1709. Jervas had a great reputation and succeeded Kneller as principal painter to George II in 1723, but his fame depended on his friendship with various literary figures, who trumpeted his praises, rather than on the quality of his work, which does not rise above the level of that of any other of Kneller's pupils or followers. He has perhaps more claim to literary distinction, for he made a well-regarded translation of Cervantes' Don Quixote, posthumously published in 1742. His conceit was enormous: once, having copied a painting by Titian, he looked from one to the other and said complacently, ‘Poor Little Tit! How he would stare!’
From The Oxford Dictionary of Art in Oxford Reference.