Francis Danby (16 November 1793 – 9 February 1861) was an Irish painter of the Romantic era.] His imaginative, dramatic landscapes were comparable to those of John Martin. Danby initially developed his imaginative style while he was the central figure in a group of artists who have come to be known as the Bristol School. His period of greatest success was in London in the 1820s. In 1813 Danby left for London together with O’Connor and Petrie. This expedition, undertaken with very inadequate funds, quickly came to an end, and they had to get home again by walking. At Bristol they made a pause, and Danby, finding he could get trifling sums for water-color drawings, remained there working diligently and sending to the London exhibitions pictures of importance. There his large oil paintings quickly attracted attention. The Upas Tree (1820) and The Delivery of Israel (1825) brought him his election as an Associate Member of the Royal Academy. He left Bristol for London, and in 1828 exhibited his Opening of the Sixth Seal at the British Institution, receiving from that body a prize of 200 guineas; and this picture was followed by two others on the theme of the Apocalypse.Danby painted “vast illusionist canvases” comparable to those of John Martin — of “grand, gloomy and fantastic subjects which chimed exactly with the Byronic taste of the 1820s.”
In 1829 Danby’s wife deserted him, running off with the painter Paul Falconer Poole. Danby left London, declaring that he would never live there again, and that the Academy, instead of aiding him, had, somehow or other, used him badly. For a decade he lived on the Lake of Geneva in Switzerland, becoming a Bohemian with boat-building fancies, painting only now and then. He later moved to Paris for a short period of time. He lived his final years at Exmouth in Devon, where he died in 1861. Along with John Martin and J. M. W. Turner, Danby is considered among the leading British artists of the Romantic period.