John Inigo Wright exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1795-1819, the majority of his work being copies after large oil paintings. Rather than woodenly aping the image he was copying, Wright evoked the energy and painterly vigour of his fellow oil portraitists. His close affiliation with these large oil portraits suggests that he enjoyed a close working relationship with society artists, offering their patrons a similarly lively depiction ‘in little’.

Whilst his painting style is highly reminiscent of Thomas Hudson, whom he studied with in London, Wright’s distinctive sense of candid realism emphasis is apparent in his implementation of light and shade on his subject’s faces, clothing and accessories. This attention to light and shadow is prevalent in the present miniature. Painstaking attention to the sitter’s facial features highlights the subtle shadows thrown under the lips, nose, chin and eyes of the gentleman depicted.

Much of Wright’s life remains a mystery, including his exact date of birth,...

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John Inigo Wright exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1795-1819, the majority of his work being copies after large oil paintings. Rather than woodenly aping the image he was copying, Wright evoked the energy and painterly vigour of his fellow oil portraitists. His close affiliation with these large oil portraits suggests that he enjoyed a close working relationship with society artists, offering their patrons a similarly lively depiction ‘in little’.

Whilst his painting style is highly reminiscent of Thomas Hudson, whom he studied with in London, Wright’s distinctive sense of candid realism emphasis is apparent in his implementation of light and shade on his subject’s faces, clothing and accessories. This attention to light and shadow is prevalent in the present miniature. Painstaking attention to the sitter’s facial features highlights the subtle shadows thrown under the lips, nose, chin and eyes of the gentleman depicted.

Much of Wright’s life remains a mystery, including his exact date of birth, but it is certain that he married twice; his first wife died whilst giving birth to his first son, John William Wright. Wright committed suicide the same year as the death of the Duke of Kent in 1820, leaving a legacy of works portraying the leading figures of the day in his distinctive hand.

Though Wright’s career was relatively short, examples of his work can be seen in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London and The Royal Collection Trust.

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500 Years of British Art