Joseph Wright (Wright of Derby)

1734-1797 England-Baroque

 

Brief Biography-Joseph Wright called Wright of Derby, from whence he came, was born in 1734. In 1751, he studied under the portraitist Thomas Hudson in London. Wright returned to Derby in 1758 and became successful as a portraitist touring nearby towns. He soon established a high reputation and spent three years in Liverpool, receiving many commissions.
In 1773, he toured Italy with John Downman, his wife Ann and a student. There Wright sketched his Vesuvius from Portici and Fireworks at Castel Sant'Angelo which Wright finished back in Derby.
After his return in 1775, he tried unsuccessfully to work in Bath when Gainsborough left for London, and he moved back to Derby in 1777 where he was to remain. Sir Richard Arkwright and Sir Josiah Wedgewood became patrons and friends.
In 1784, he was elected an Academician but turned it down. It is suspected because he didn't want any obligation connected with it. He also quarrelled with the Academy over various issues. In his later years, he concentrated on landscapes around the Lakelands. He died at Derby in 1797.
Some of his most famous paintings noted for chiaroscuro are 'Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump', 'Philosopher Lecturing on the Orrery', 'Alchemist in Search of the Philosopher's Stone' and 'Viewing the Gladiator by Candlelight'.

 

Click an Image to Enlarge

Viewing the
Gladiator

Viewing the Gladiator by Candlelight

Girl Reading a
Letter

Girl Reading a Letter by Candlelight

Indian
Widow

Indian Widow

Lake
Nemi

Lake Nemi

Sir Richard
Arkwright

Sir Richard Arkwright

Experiment on
a bird

Experiment on a bird with the Air Pump

In Search of the
Philosopher's Stone

Alchemist in Search of the Philosopher's Stone

Penelope Unravelling
her Web

Penelope Unravelling her Web

Brooke
Boothby

Brooke Boothby

Opening
the Grave

Miravan Opening the Grave of his Forefathers


Rainbow

Rainbow

Hermit
Studing

Hermit Studing Anatomy

Blacksmiths
Shop

Blacksmiths Shop

Iron
Forge

Iron Forge From Outside

The Iron
Forge

The Iron Forge

Peter
and Hannah

Peter and Hanah Burdet Derby

Old Man
and Death

Old Man and Death

View in
Matlock

View in matlock Dale


Earthstopper

Earthstopper on the Banks of the Derwent

San
Cosimato

The Cloister of San Cosimato

The Wood
Children

The Wood Children

Arkwright's
Goat

Arkwrights with Goat

Arkwrights
with Kite

arkwrights with kite

Harvey
Wilmot

Harvey Wilmot

Vesuvius from
Posillipo

Vesuvius from Posillipo

Two Boys
Blowing a Bladder

Two Boys Blowing a Bladder by Candlelight

Philosopher Lecturing
on the Orrery

Philosopher Lecturing on the Orrery

Orrery
Detail

Orrery Detail

Miss Frances
Warren

Miss Frances Warren

Fireworks
display

Fireworks Display at Castel Sant Angelo

Boy
with Kite

Boy with Kite

Two Girls Dressing
a Kittent

Two Girls Dressing a Kitten by candlelight

Cave in the
Evening

Cave in the Evening

Academy by
Lamplight

Academy by Lamplight

Cottage on Fire
at Night

Cottage on Fire at Night

Lake with
Castle on a Hill

Lake with Castle on a Hill

Mrs. Robert
Gwillym

Mrs. Robert Gwillym

The
Vesuvius

Vesuvius and Bay of naples

Portrait
of a Lady

Portrait of a Lady

Vesuvius
from Portici

Vesuvius from Portici

The Corinthian
Maid

 The Corinthian Maid

Reverend Basil
Bury Beridge

Reverend Basil Bury Beridge

Richard Arkwright
Junior

Richard Arkwright Junior

Robert
Gwillym

Robert Gwillym

john coates
browne

john coates browne