Wyatt, Henry (DNB00)

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WYATT, HENRY (1794–1840), painter, was born at Thickbroom, near Lichfield, on 17 Sept. 1794. On the death of his father, when he was only three years old, he went to live at Birmingham with his guardian, Francis Eginton [q. v.], the glass-painter, who, finding he had a taste for art, sent him to London in 1811, and in the following year he was admitted to the school of the Royal Academy. In 1815 he entered the studio of Sir Thomas Lawrence [q. v.] as a pupil, and proved so valuable an assistant that he received 300l. a year after the first twelve months. At the end of 1817 he established himself as a portrait-painter, practising first at Birmingham and successively at Liverpool and Manchester, also painting occasionally subject-pictures. In 1825 he settled in London, where he resided in Newman Street till 1834, when ill-health obliged him to remove to Leamington. It was his intention to return to London in 1837, but having some portrait commissions in Manchester he first visited that town, and in the following April he was seized with paralysis, from which he never recovered. He died at Prestwich, near Manchester, on 27 Feb. 1840, and was buried in the churchyard of that village. He was a clever artist, a skilful draughtsman, and a good colourist, and both his portraits and subject-pictures earned him considerable popularity. There are many examples of his work still to be seen in the neighbourhood of Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Chester, and Leamington. Two by him are in the National Gallery (Vernon Collection)—‘Vigilance,’ which was exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1836 (it was engraved by G. A. Periam); and the ‘Philosopher,’ called also ‘Galileo’ and ‘Archimedes,’ a fancy portrait, half-length life-size, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1832, and engraved by R. Bell. Among others of his works that have been popular are ‘Fair Forester’ and ‘Proffered Kiss,’ which were engraved by George Thomas Doo, and the following are also well known—‘Juliet,’ ‘Chapeau Noir,’ ‘Gentle Reader,’ ‘The Romance,’ ‘Clara Mowbray,’ and ‘Mars and Venus.’ There is in Chester Castle a portrait by him of Thomas Harrison (1744–1829) [q. v.], the architect of that building. There is in the possession of Mrs. Joseph Taylor of Ashton-on-Mersey, Cheshire, a portrait of Wyatt drawn from life in 1839 by William Bradley [q. v.] He was a man of refined tastes, living a quiet bachelor life, but, as his sketch-books show, always industriously working at every variety of drawing; family groups, landscapes, cattle, buildings, shipping, animals of many kinds and flowers were alike drawn with the utmost care and with much ability. He exhibited between 1817 and 1838 eighty pictures in London, including thirty-five at the Royal Academy.

His younger brother, Thomas Wyatt (1799?–1859), portrait-painter, was born at Thickbroom about 1799. He studied in the school of the Royal Academy, and accompanied his brother to Birmingham, Liverpool, and Manchester, practising as a portrait-painter without much success. In Manchester he tried photography. Eventually he settled as a portrait-painter in Lichfield, and died there on 7 July 1859. His works are best known in the Midland counties, and especially at Birmingham, where he held the post of secretary to the Midland Society of Artists.

[Gent. Mag. 1840, ii. 555; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists of Engl. School; Manchester City News, 15 May 1880; Bryan's Dict. ed. Graves; Graves's Dict. of Artists.]

A. N.