Vincent Volpe

(d. 1536)

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(b Naples; d London, Nov–Dec 1536). Italian decorative and heraldic painter, active in England. He was one of the first Italian artists employed by Henry VIII, and in 1513 he was granted an annuity of £20—twice what his contemporary John Brown (d 1532) would be paid as Serjeant Painter. In that year he also received £30 for banners and streamers for seven ships, and in 1514 he was paid the very large sum of £112 19s. 8d. for similar decorative work for the new ship Henry Grace à Dieu; the receipt (London, BL, Stowe MS. 146, fol. 124) is made out to ‘Vincent Fox’ and is signed ‘Vicenzo Volpe’. He was sent to Antwerp as ‘the King's painter’ in 1520, presumably to make decorative preparations for the Field of the Cloth of Gold when Henry met Francis I at Guisnes. In 1527 he was paid £13 for 13 weeks’ work at Greenwich Palace, London, for festivities to mark an Anglo-French treaty. He received £15 3s. 12d. for ‘trimming’ the royal barge in 1530. In 1530 he was paid £3 10s. for a ‘plat’, or topographical drawing, of Rye and Hastings and may have done a bird's-eye view of Dover harbour on parchment in pen and ink tinted with watercolour. In 1534 he provided a New Year gift to the King. For a time Volpe lived in the London parish of St Martin Outwich before settling in St Andrew Undershaft, a parish then popular with immigrant artists.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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