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Sir Richard Arkwright (1732-1792), Engineer and inventor

Sitter in 2 portraits
The engineer, inventor and entrepreneur, Richard Arkwright is one of the leading figures of the Industrial Revolution. He invented a water-frame in 1769 that was capable of spinning a vast number of threads. This enabled the largescale mechanisation of the cotton industry. In 1771 he established his famous cotton mill at Cromford in the Midlands. There, through drive, business acumen and unceasing labour, he developed a major industrial empire. Arkwright is now acknowledged as the founding father of the modern factory system on which the Industrial Revolution was based.

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Sir Richard Arkwright

by Joseph Wright
oil on canvas, circa 1783-1785
On display at Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston
NPG 6848


Sir Richard Arkwright

studio of Joseph Wright
oil on canvas, circa 1790
NPG 136