Joseph Wright of Derby in Liverpool
Yale University Press | ISBN 9780300117455
Hardback – 288 pages
Member’s price: $97.16
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In 1768, Joseph Wright left his native city of Derby and moved to Liverpool in search of recognition and success. Earlier the same year he had exhibited the masterly "Experiment on a Bird in the Air-Pump" to great acclaim in London, but he failed to sell the picture, and he would shortly be excluded from the Royal Academy. Liverpool offered him the opportunity to engage with wealthy clients who had little experience of art patronage. Wright painted portraits of the prosperous merchants and their families, and continued to develop the brilliantly illuminated subject paintings on which his reputation chiefly rests. This beautifully illustrated book examines Wright's remarkable impact on the artistic climate of the city of Liverpool, on its cultural institutions, and on the other artists working there. The Merseyside network of merchants, bankers, and amateur and professional artists that Wright encountered in the years around 1770 is identified as his true historical milieu. The exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool will form part of the city's celebrations for the 800th anniversary of its charter in 2007, and its role as European City of Culture in 2008 (17 November 2007 - 24 February 2008). It then moves on to the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven (22 May - 30 August 2008).