Tobias Stranover, also known as Toby Stranover, was born in the year 1684 in the city of Sibiu, Romania. At the time, his birth city was named Nagyszeben and was a part of Hungary. The artist was a Transylvanian Saxon, representing people of German ethnicity who, by the mid-XII-century, began migrating to Transylvania. His father, Jeremias Stranover, was a local painter and passed on his talent to Tobias’ brother as well, Jeremias Stranover.
It is known that Stranover traveled extensively to places like the Netherlands, in Amsterdam, and Germany, to cities like Hamburg and Hermannstadt. He eventually settled in London, England, around 1703, shortly after his father’s death in 1702. It was there that Stranover met with Jacob Bogdani, a painter known for his breathtaking representation of flowers and birds. They possibly collaborated, creating paintings together during this period. Stranover would come to marry Bogdani’s daughter, Elizabeth, circa 1720. They moved to the area of the Covent Garden in London, closeby Bogdani.
Stranover’s production followed in his father-in-laws’ steps, creating highly detailed and ornamented still life paintings. The painter focused on a vibrant color palette to portray both exotic and native species of birds, as well as many plants, fruits, and flowers. Some of his most notable works are Peacock, Hen and Cock Pheasant in a Landscape, Still-life of Fruit and Birds, and A Monkey, a Dog, and Various Birds in a Landscape amoung others.
By the early XVIII century, Stranover and Bogdani were the most prominent decorative painters working in England. Following prior British still-life and animal painters, like Marmaduke Cradock, Stranover brought a fresh perspective on the genre by lightening his paintings and introducing exotic elements as well. Some of the artist’s production can be found in museums like the Museum of Fine Arts, in Budapest, the Landesmuseum, in Schwerin, and the Kunsthalle, in Hamburg - but most of his production is in the hands of private English collections.
In 1724, Bogdani passed away, leaving Stranover and his wife a considerable fortune in his will, as well as his studio with everything inside. By 1733, the artist traveled a lot to Germany and Vienna to complete four large commissions portraying animals and fruit. He had many patrons in London, including Dr. Richard Mead.