James Northcote RA (22 October 1746 - 13 July 1831), was an English painter
was born at Plymouth, and was apprenticed to his father, a poor watchmaker. In his spare time, he drew and painted. In 1769 he left his father and set up as a portrait painter. Four years later he went to London and was admitted as a pupil into the studio and house of Sir Joshua Reynolds. At the same time he attended the Royal Academy schools.
In 1775 he left Reynolds, and about two years later, having made some money by portrait painting back in Devon, he went to study in Italy. On his return to England, three years later, he revisited his native county, then settled in London, where John Opie and Henry Fuseli were his rivals. He was elected associate of the Academy in 1786, and full academician in the following spring. The "Young Princes murdered in the Tower," his first important work on a historical subject, dates from 1786, and it was followed by the "Burial of the Princes in the Tower". Both paintings, along with seven others, were intended for Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery. The "Death of Wat Tyler", now in the Guildhall, London, was exhibited in 1787; and shortly afterwards Northcote began a set of ten subjects, entitled "The Modest Girl and the Wanton", which were completed and engraved in 1796. Among the productions of Northcote's later years are the "Entombment" and the "Agony in the Garden," besides many portraits, and several animal subjects, such as "Leopards", "Dog and Heron", and "Lion".