RICHARD WILSON , third son of the above John , was b. in Aug. 1713 at Penegoes near Machynlleth . His mother was of the Wynne family of Leeswood near Mold , and Richard passed his boyhood at Mold . He was sent up to London , with the help of Sir George Wynne , in 1729 , and there trained as a portrait painter . He enjoyed some success in this branch, and in 1748 painted a group of the future George III and the duke of York as children. He also painted some landscapes at this period, including two for the Foundling Hospital , 1746 , and a View of Dover , which was engraved in 1747 ; at Philadelphia there is a View of Westminster Bridge signed and dated 1746 .
In 1750 Wilson went to Venice and thence, in 1751 , to Rome , where he remained six years. From Rome he made painting expeditions to Tivoli , the Alban Hills , and the Neapolitan coast . While in Italy , he abandoned portraiture for landscape, on the advice of Vernet and Zuccarelli . In 1757 he left Italy and settled in London . He exhibited landscapes at the Society of Artists , 1760-8 , his first and most famous being the ‘ Niobe ,’ painted for the duke of Cumberland . In 1768 he became one of the foundation members of the Royal Academy , of which he was appointed librarian in 1776 . In 1781 Wilson retired to live at Colomendy , near Mold , where his brother acted as agent for the owner, Catherine Jones , their kinswoman. He d. 15 May 1782 , and was buried at Mold .
Many of Wilson 's favourite subjects were repeated, often indifferently, by himself; and his style was much copied after his death. He suffered neglect and some distress in his lifetime, but is now ranked among the great landscape-painters of 18th-cent. Europe . At his best, he is a master of style; as an interpreter of light he is the successor of Claude and Cuyp , and an inspirer of Constable and Turner . His own inspiration came equally from Italy and Wales , enabling him to express romantic emotion within a classical framework.
Wilson is represented in most of the chief public collections of Europe and America . His portrait, painted by Mengs in Rome , is in the National Museum of Wales .
John Edward Horatio Steegman, M.A., (1899-1966), Cardiff / Toronto, Canada
Iorwerth Cyfeiliog Peate, D.Sc., F.S.A., D.Litt., (1901-82), St Fagans / Llandaf
Published date: 1959