French painter, one of the leading pupils of Gros. He achieved great popularity with his melodramatic history scenes, engravings of his work hanging in thousands of homes. Often he chose subjects from English history, as with two of his most famous works, The Little Princes in the Tower (Louvre, Paris, 1831) and The Execution of Lady Jane Grey (National Gallery, London, 1833). They are Romantic in flavor, but academically impeccable in their draughtsmanship and detailing. After a period when such pictures were totally out of favor, his work is once again being treated seriously.
The first Delaroche picture exhibited was the large Josabeth saving Joas (1822). This exhibition led to his acquaintance with Théodore Géricault and Eugène Delacroix, with whom he became friends. The three of them formed the core of a large group of Parisian historical painters. He visited Italy in 1838 and 1843, when his father-in-law, Horace Vernet, was director of the French Academy in Rome. His subjects were painted with a firm, solid, smooth surface, which gave an appearance of the highest finish. This texture was the manner of the day and was also found in the works of Vernet, Ary Scheffer, Louis-Leopold Robert and Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.