John Van der Banck (1694-1739) was a short-lived English portrait painter and book illustrator, who enjoyed a high reputation during the reign of King George I; his early death was due to an intemperate and extravagant lifestyle.
Vanderbank was born in London, the eldest son of John Vanderbank Snr. His father was a Huguenot tapestry weaver, born in Paris, but forced to flee to Holland before coming to England; there he became head of a Soho tapestry weaving factory.
Vanderbank’s book illustrations include: the portrait of Sir Isaac Newton used in the frontispiece of the 1726 edition of Principia; the 66 plates of the first edition in Spanish of Cervantes' Don Quixote published in London (1738); and illustrations for 'Twenty-five Actions of the Manage Horse, engraved by Josephus Sympson (1729). His 1725 portrait of Sir Isaac Newton hangs in Trinity College, Cambridge. Many of his portraits were engraved by John Faber Jr. and George White. Vanderbank was amongst a group of artists painted by William Hogarth, of which there is an engraving by R. Sawyer.
Van der Banck, Jr. studied under Sir Godfrey Kneller at James Thornhill's art academy in Great Queen Street from 1711 until 1720, when he joined with Louis Cheron to found his own academy in St. Martin's Lane. The venture proved a failure, and in 1729 he went to France to avoid his creditors. On his return he entered "the liberties of the Fleet" - "mansion houses" near Fleet prison, London, in which certain privileged prisoners could serve out their sentences in return for payment.
It was noted by George Vertue that "only intemperance prevented Van der Banck from being the greatest portraitist of his generation." He died of Tuberculosis in Holies Street, Cavendish Square, London, on 23 Dec. 1739, aged about 45, and is buried in Marylebone church.