Sir Henry William Beechey
1753 – January 28, 1839), English portrait-painter, was born at
Burford, the son of William Beechey (1732) and Hannah Read
He was originally meant for a conveyancer, but a strong love for
painting induced him to become a pupil at the Royal Academy in 1772.
Some of his smaller portraits gained him considerable reputation; he
began to be employed by the nobility, and in 1793 became associate
of the Royal Academy. In the same year he was made portrait-painter
to Queen Charlotte. His work has been described as relatively sober.
He painted the
portraits of the members of the royal family, and of nearly all the
most famous or fashionable persons of the time. What is considered
his finest production is a review of cavalry, a large composition in
the foreground of which he introduced portraits of George III, the
prince of Wales and the duke of York, surrounded by a brilliant
staff on horseback. Among his portraits were those of Lord Nelson,
John Kemble, and Sarah Siddons.
George III and the
Prince of Wales reviewing troops was painted in 1798, and obtained
for the artist the honour of knighthood, and his election as RA
(member of the Academy). This painting was destroyed in the 1992
Windsor Castle fire.
first marriage was to Mary Ann Jones in 1772. He secondly married
Ann Phyllis Jessop (3 August 1764) in 1793 and had 18 children by