Benjamin Wilson(1721-1788), Portrait painter and scientist
Sitter in 5 portraits
Artist associated with 44 portraits
Wilson was the son of a wealthy clothes manufacturer in York. After his father's business failed, Wilson moved to London, where he became a clerk and began to study painting. In the late 1740s, he lived in Dublin, where he had a successful career as a portrait painter. He returned to London and built up a lucrative portrait practice, which was probably patronised chiefly by Yorkshire men in London. In 1773, the Duke of York, appointed Wilson painter to the Board of Ordnance. A student of chemistry, Wilson developed a particular interest in exploring static electricity. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1751, and in 1760, he received the society's Copley medal for his electrical experiments.
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