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Sir David Wilkie (1785-1841)

Sir William Knighton (1776-1836) c. 1834-5

Oil on canvas laid on panel | 45.7 x 35.7 cm (support, canvas/panel/stretcher external) | RCIN 407658

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  • David Wilkie was one of the most successful painters of the Regency period and was greatly encouraged by the Regent. Born in Fife, trained in Edinburgh, Wilkie settled in London in 1805 and began regularly exhibiting at the Royal Academy small scale scenes of everyday life. At this time Dutch and Flemish old master paintings were hugely popular and expensive, as is demonstrated by the works collected at this time by George IV. Wilkie began his career consciously emulated the low-life scenes of Teniers and Ostade, but by the 1820s he had begun to set his sight rather higher, taking Rubens has his model, in particular the fluid and painterly character of Rubens’s oil sketches. Wilkie’s royal career involved succeeding Raeburn as Limner to the King in Scotland in 1823 and Lawrence as Principal Painter in Ordinary to the King in 1830; he remained in these positions until his death, although Queen Victoria disliked his work. This is an unfinished portrait of a royal physician, who was one of Wilkie's most enthusiastic admirers and patrons, who was responsible for the six 'continental' paintings of Wilkie (OM 1177-2, 405861, 405091-4 and 405096) being acquired by George IV. The sitter is shown with brown eyes, short, slightly curly grey hair; collar of brown jacket visible; against brown background.

    Purchased by Queen Elizabeth II for the Royal Collection, 2001

  • Medium and techniques

    Oil on canvas laid on panel


    45.7 x 35.7 cm (support, canvas/panel/stretcher external)

    54.0 x 43.4 x 3.5 cm (frame, external)

    44.6 x 34.4 cm (sight)

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