Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Tyrwhitt, Richard St. John

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TYRWHITT, RICHARD St. JOHN (1827–1895), writer on art, eldest son of Robert Philip Tyrwhitt (1798–1886), a metropolitan police magistrate and author of ‘Notices and Remains of the Family of Tyrwhitt,’ 1872, and of legal works, by his wife Catherine Wigley, daughter of Henry St. John, was born on 19 March 1827. He matriculated from Christ Church, Oxford, on 15 May 1845, was a student from 1845 to 1859, tutor from 1852 to 1856, and rhetoric reader in 1856. He graduated B.A. in 1849 and M.A. in 1852. In 1851 he was ordained, and from 1858 to 1872 he held the vicarage of St. Mary Magdalen in Oxford. He had great artistic insight, and with a technical training would probably have developed high merit as a landscape-painter. He exhibited between 1864 and 1880 two watercolours at the Royal Academy and two at the Suffolk Street Gallery, and several of his paintings in watercolours now hang in the common-room of Christ Church, Oxford. He was a fervent admirer of John Ruskin, in whose favour he withdrew his candidature for the Slade professorship of fine arts in 1869. For many years he was a member of the committee for the decoration of St. Paul's Cathedral.

He died at 62 Banbury Road, Oxford, on 6 Nov. 1895. He married, first, on 28 June 1858, Eliza Ann, daughter of John Spencer Stanhope of Cannon Hall, Yorkshire. She died on 8 Sept. 1859, leaving a son, Walter Spencer Stanhope, a lieutenant in the Warwick militia. By a second marriage, on 2 Jan. 1861, to Caroline (d. 1883), youngest daughter of John Yorke of Bewerley Hall, Yorkshire, he had six children.

Tyrwhitt was a well-known writer on art and author of ‘A Handbook of Pictorial Art’ (1866; 2nd edit. 1868). In addition to many sermons, he published: 1. ‘Concerning Clerical Powers and Duties,’ 1861. 2. ‘Christian Art and Symbolism, with Hints on the Study of Landscape,’ 1872 (preface by Ruskin). 3. ‘The Art Teaching of the Primitive Church,’ 1874. 4. ‘Our Sketching Club: Letters and Studies in Landscape Art, with a Reproduction of the Lessons and Woodcuts in Ruskin's “Elements of Drawing,”’ 1874. 5. ‘Hugh Heron, Ch. Ch.: an Oxford Novel,’ 1880. 6. ‘Greek and Gothic: Progress and Decay in the three Arts of Architecture, Sculpture, and Painting,’ 1881. 7. ‘The Natural Theology of Natural Beauty,’ 1882. 8. ‘Christian Ideals and Hopes: an Argument from Moral Beauty,’ 1883. 9. ‘An Amateur Art Book: Lectures,’ 1886. 10. ‘Free Field Lyrics, chiefly descriptive,’ 1888. To Mr. Francis Galton's ‘Vacation Tourists,’ 1864, he contributed an account of a visit to Sinai (pp. 327–56).

[Times, 9 Nov. 1895; Foster's Baronetage, 1883.]

G. C. B.