Sir William Blake Richmond - Encyclopedia

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SIR WILLIAM BLAKE RICHMOND (1842-),), English painter and decorator, was born in London on the 29th of November 1842. His father, George Richmond, R.A. (1809-1896), himself the son of a successful miniature painter, was a distinguished artist, who painted the portraits of the most eminent people of his day, and played an important part in society. At the age of fourteen William Richmond entered the Royal Academy schools, where he worked for about three years. A visit to Italy in 1859 gave him special opportunity for studying the works of the old masters, and had an important effect upon his development. His first Academy picture was a portrait group (1861); and to this succeeded, during the next three years, several other pictures of the same class. In 1865 he returned to Italy, and spent four years there, living chiefly at Rome. To this period belongs the large canvas. "A Procession in Honour of Bacchus," which he exhibited at the Academy in 1869 when he came back to England. His picture, "An Audience at Athens," was exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1885. He became Slade professor at Oxford, succeeding Ruskin, in 1878, but resigned three years later. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1888 and Royal Academician in 1895; he received the degree of D.C.L. in 1896, and a knighthood of the Bath in 1897, and became professor of painting to the Royal Academy. Apart from his pictures, he is notable for his work in decorative art, his most conspicuous achievement being the internal decoration and the glass mosaics of St Paul's Cathedral. Sir William Richmond also took a keen interest in social questions, particularly in smoke-prevention in London.

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