(1783 Plymouth - 1852 London)
English painter, best known for his watercolour views of picturesque buildings and streets of Normandy. Many of them appeared as engravings and lithographs in illustrated books, and they helped to build up the British romantic image of the Continent.
He was the fourth of the fourteenth children of Samuel Prout, a shopkeeper and naval outfitter and his wife, Mary Carter. As a young man who earn his living as an illustrator and accompanied the historical painter B.R. Haydon on a tour of Devon, but his work was not of consistently high standard for publisher John Britton to use. He moved to London in 1812 where he earned his living painting marine pieces and teaching, including John Ruskin. Prout was working on his style by studying the great landscape artists, and he dabbled in the newly invented art of lithography. In 1818 he made a tour of Yorkshire and Scotland, and in 1819 he made his first trip to the Continent, as well as became a member of the Old Watercolour Society. It is in France that he found his niche, painting gothic buildings with great precision in a natural but picturesque style. He became 'Painter in Water-Colur in Ordinary' to king George IV and later to Queen Victoria. His work was greatly admired by Ruskin.