Richard Wilson

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Richard Wilson

Richard Wilson (Penegoes, Montgomeryshire, 1 August 1713 or 1714 – Denbighshire, 11 May 1782) was a Welsh landscape painter, considered one of the most important specialists in this genre of century XVIII. He was one of the founding members of the Society of Artists of Great Britain and the Royal Academy of Arts in 1768.

Richard_Wilson’s Biography

Richard Wilson was born in Penegoes (Montgomeryshire), where his father was a cleric. Sir George Wynne, a relative of his mother, noticed his taste for art and in 1729 sent him to London to study with Thomas Wright, a little-known portrait painter. After he took an independent course he acquired a good practice. Among the commissions he got is a full-length portrait of the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York, painted for his tutor, the Bishop of Norwich. In 1749 Wilson visited Italy, where he spent six years.

In 1755 he returned to England, and became one of the first English landscape painters. Niobe, one of his most powerful works, was exhibited at the Society of Artists in 1760. When the Royal Academy of Arts was established in 1768 he was one of the original members, and was a regular contributor to his exhibitions until 1780.

During his life, his landscapes were not popular. It is said that he had a bitter temper, perhaps because money problems overwhelmed him practically his entire life. He had to live in a dark, half-furnished room on Tottenham Court Road, London. In 1776, nevertheless, obtained the position of librarian of the Academy, and by the death of a brother acquired a small property near Denbighshire, to which one retired to spend its last days, and where it died suddenly in May of 1782. It is also said that he was an alcoholic.

After his death, his fame grew and in 1814 around seventy of his works were exhibited at the British Institution. The National Gallery in London has nine of its landscapes.

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