[Art Journal, Aug. 1850; Gent. Mag. 1850, ii. 99; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Royal Academy catalogues.]
WYATT, RICHARD JAMES (1795–1850), sculptor, son of Edward Wyatt (1757–1833), a well-known carver and gilder of Oxford Street, by his wife Anne Madox, and cousin of Matthew Cotes Wyatt [q. v.], was born in Oxford Street, London, on 3 May 1795. He studied in the school of the Royal Academy, where he gained two medals, and served his apprenticeship with John Charles Felix Rossi [q. v.] In 1818 he exhibited at the academy a ‘Judgment of Paris,’ and in 1819 a monument to Lady Anne Hudson; other early memorial works by him are in Esher church and St. John's Wood chapel. When Canova visited this country Wyatt was brought under his notice by Sir Thomas Lawrence [q. v.], and received from him an invitation to Rome. He left England early in 1821, and, after studying for a few months in Paris under Bosio, proceeded to Rome, and entered the studio of Canova, where he had John Gibson (1790–1866) [q. v.] as a fellow pupil. Settling permanently in Rome, Wyatt practised his profession there with great enthusiasm and success, and from 1831 until his death was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy. Among his best works were ‘Ino and the Infant Bacchus,’ ‘Girl at the Bath,’ ‘Musidora’ (at Chatsworth), and ‘Penelope,’ ‘The Huntress,’ and ‘Flora’ (all in the royal collection). Several of these have been engraved for the ‘Art Journal.’ The ‘Penelope’ was a commission given by the queen to Wyatt at the time of his only visit to England in 1841. His whole life was otherwise passed in Rome, where he died, unmarried, on 29 May 1850, and was buried in the protestant cemetery. Some of his works were shown at the London exhibition of 1851, and were awarded a gold medal. Wyatt was a highly accomplished artist, particularly excelling in his female figures, which in purity of form and beauty of line rivalled those of his master Canova. A woodcut portrait, from a drawing by S. Pearce, accompanies a memoir of him in the ‘Art Journal,’ 1850.
WYATT, Sir THOMAS (1503?–1542), poet, only son of Sir Henry Wyatt and Anne, daughter of John Skinner of Reigate, Surrey, was born about 1503, at his father's residence, Allington Castle, Kent. The ‘inquisitio post mortem’ of his father, dated 1537, inaccurately describes him as then aged ‘twenty-eight years and upwards.’
Sir Henry Wyatt (d. 1537), the father of the poet, resisted the pretensions of Richard III to the throne, and was in consequence arrested and imprisoned in the Tower for two years. According to his son's statement he was racked in Richard's presence, and vinegar and mustard were forced down his throat. There is an old tradition in the family that while in the Tower a cat brought him a pigeon every day from a neighbouring dovecot and thus saved him from starvation. There is no contemporary confirmation of the legend. The Earl of Romney, who is directly descended in the female line from the Wyatts, possesses a curious half-length portrait of Sir Henry seated in a prison cell with a cat drawing towards him a pigeon through the grating of a window. Lord Romney also possesses a second picture of ‘The cat that fed Sir Henry Wyatt,’ besides a small bust portrait of Sir Henry. The pictures, illustrating the tradition of the cat (now at Lord Romney's house, 4 Upper Belgrave Street, London), represent Sir Henry Wyatt in advanced years, and were obviously painted on hearsay evidence very long after the date of the alleged events they claim to depict. The Wyatt papers, drawn up in 1727, relate that Sir Henry on his release from the Tower ‘would ever make much of cats, as other men will of their spaniels or hounds.’ On the accession of Henry VII Wyatt was not merely liberated but was admitted to the privy council, and remained high in the royal favour. He was one of Henry VII's executors, and one of Henry VIII's guardians. Henry VIII treated him with no less consideration than his father had shown him. He was admitted to the privy council of the new king in April 1509, and became a knight of the Bath on 23 July following. In 1511 he was made jointly with Sir Thomas Boleyn [q. v.] constable of Norwich castle (Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, i. No. 3008), and on 29 July of the same year was granted an estate called Maidencote, at Estgarstone in Berkshire. At the battle of the Spurs he served in the vanguard (16 Aug. 1513). He became treasurer to the king's chamber in 1524, but resigned that office to Sir Brian Tuke on 23 April 1528. He had purchased in 1492 the castle and estate of Allington near Maidstone in Kent, and made the place his principal residence. Henry VIII visited him there in 1527 to meet Wolsey on his return from the continent. Wyatt remained friendly with Sir Thomas Boleyn (the father of Queen Anne Boleyn), who had been his colleague at Norwich, and resided at Hever Castle in Kent. Sir Henry died on 10 Nov. 1537 (Inq. post mort. 28 Hen. VIII, m. 5), and, in accordance with the directions in his will, which was proved on 21 Feb.