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Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

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

Cotton manufacturer at Cromford, Derbyshire; b. Preston, he began as a barber in Bolton; his use of the water frame and the carding machine revolutionised the cotton industry; a creator of the factory system; Kt 1786.

‘a plain, almost gross, bag-wigged, pot-bellied Lancashire man, with an air of painful reflection, yet also of copious free digestion’ (Thomas Carlyle, 1839).

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.