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Sir Richard Arkwright

1 of 2 portraits of Sir Richard Arkwright

Sir Richard Arkwright, by Joseph Wright, circa 1783-1785 - NPG 6848 - © National Portrait Gallery, London, and the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston

© National Portrait Gallery, London, and the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston

Sir Richard Arkwright

by Joseph Wright
oil on canvas, circa 1783-1785
49 5/8 in. x 40 1/8 in. (1260 mm x 1020 mm)
Purchased jointly with the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston, with help from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, The Art Fund, the Portrait Fund, PRISM, the Friends of the Harris, The Headley Trust, Sir Harry Djanogly, the Halecat Charitable Trust, Nicholas and Judith Goodison through the Art Fund and many other donations., 2008
Primary Collection
NPG 6848


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  • Joseph Wright (1734-1797), Painter, known as 'Wright of Derby'. Artist associated with 19 portraits, Sitter associated with 7 portraits.

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The artist, Joseph Wright of Derby, took a keen interest in industrial and scientific developments, painting several of the leading figures of the Midlands Enlightenment and the Lunar Society. This is the first of the several portraits Wright painted of Arkwright and it is characteristic of the candid approach to such self-made men. Wright's artful use of light and shade, here subtly reveals an assertive and ambitious Arkwright emerging from the shadows towards the light of social, commercial and political ascendancy.

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