Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Wyatt, Matthew Cotes

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WYATT, MATTHEW COTES (1777–1862), sculptor, youngest son of James Wyatt [q. v.], was born in 1777 and educated at Eton. After studying in the schools of the Royal Academy he, through his father's influence, obtained employment at Windsor Castle, where he became a favourite with the king and queen. From 1803 to 1814 he was an exhibitor at the Royal Academy of portraits and historical subjects in oils, and in 1811 sent his only contribution in sculpture, a bust of the king. One of his earliest public commissions was the Nelson monument in the Exchange quadrangle at Liverpool. After the death of Princess Charlotte, Wyatt was employed to execute the marble cenotaph to her memory in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, for which 15,000l. had been subscribed; this was completed in 1826, and gained much admiration (Gent. Mag. 1826, i. 350). When George III died and a subscription for a national monument was started, Wyatt prepared a design representing the king standing in a quadriga, and of this he published an etching; but, though highly approved of and provisionally accepted, lack of funds necessitated its abandonment. Eventually, in 1832, a committee of the subscribers commissioned him to execute the bronze equestrian statue of the king which now stands in Pall Mall East, and is his best work. Other well-known productions by Wyatt are the marble monument to the Duchess of Rutland at Belvoir, and the poorly modelled colossal bronze equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington which was placed on Decimus Burton's arch at Hyde Park Corner in 1846 and remained there until 1883, when it was removed to Aldershot. A portrait of a Newfoundland dog, sculptured in coloured marbles by Wyatt, was shown at the International Exhibition of 1851. Thanks to royal and other influential patronage, Wyatt enjoyed a reputation and practice to which his mediocre abilities hardly entitled him, and he amassed considerable wealth. He died at his house in the Harrow Road, London, on 3 Jan. 1862. By his wife Maria (d. 1852) he had, with other children, two sons—Matthew, who became a lieutenant of the queen's bodyguard and was knighted; and James, who followed his father's profession and worked as his assistant.

[Art Journal, 1862; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Gent. Mag. 1822 i. 208, 1836 ii. 306, 1862, i. 241; Royal Academy Catalogues; private information.]

F. M. O'D.