Joseph Wright of Derby
Joseph Wright (1734 – 1797), styled as Joseph Wright of Derby, was an English landscape and portrait painter. He has also been acclaimed as “the first professional painter to express the spirit of the Industrial Revolution.
Wright decided to become a painter, and at seventeen left Derby to go to London in 1751. For two years studied under Thomas Hudson, the master of Joshua Reynolds. Wright established himself in England as a well known portrait-painter. In 1777 he returned to Derby where he spent the rest of his life.
In Derby, Wright had close contact with the pioneering industrialists of the English Midlands. Two of his most important patrons were Josiah Wedgewood credited with the industrialisation of the manufacture of pottery and Richard Arkwright as the creator of the factory system in the cotton industry. It was due to these contacts that Wright’s paintings skills developed into a new area, industrial scenes.
Find out more during the talk.