ARA (1740-1779) was a British Neoclassical figure and landscape painter and printmaker, known for romantic paintings set in Italy, works depicting conversations, and works drawn in the 1770s portraying war scenes, similar to those of Salvator Rosa.
Mortimer became President of the Society of Artists in 1774, five years before his death, at age 39.
John Hamilton Mortimer was born on 17 September 1740 at Eastbourne. Not much is known about his family, other than that his father was a customs officer, a dealer in flour and owner of several mills. By 1757, while he was still young, he was studying in London at the Duke of Richmond's Academy. During this time he became a friend of Joseph Wright, a fellow student at the Academy - a friendship which would endure throughout Mortimer's life. Mortimer is also known to have had some professional relationship with the artist Samuel Ireland, who was involved with etching Mortimer's work. At the St Martin's Lane Academy his fellow students included Thomas Jones and William Pars. In 1759 Mortimer won a first prize for a study after Michelangelo's Bacchus and a second prize for a life drawing.
He began to display his works on a regular basis from the early 1760s onwards. He became an active member of the Society of Artists and President of the Society in 1774.