Sir David Wilkie “Arrival of the Rich Relatives”
Sir David Wilkie (November 18, 1785 — June 1, 1841) was a Scottish painter-etcher. Wilkie was the son of the parish minister of Cults in Fife. He developed a love for art at an early age. In 1799, after he had attended school at Pitlessie, Kettle and Cupar, his father reluctantly agreed to his becoming a painter. Through the influence of the Earl of Leven Wilkie was admitted to the Trustees’ Academy in Edinburgh, and began the study of art under John Graham. From William Allan (afterwards Sir William Allan and president of the Royal Scottish Academy) and John Burnet, the engraver of Wilkie’s works, we have an interesting account of his early studies, of his indomitable perseverance and power of close application, of his habit of haunting fairs and marketplaces, and transferring to his sketchbook all that struck him as characteristic and telling in figure or incident, and of his admiration for the works of Carse and David Allan, two Scottish painters of scenes from humble life. Among his pictures of this period are mentioned a subject from Macbeth, Ceres in Search of Proserpine, and Diana and Calisto, which in 1803 gained a premium of ten guineas at the Trustees’ Academy, while his pencil portraits of himself and his mother, dated that year, and now in the possession of the Duke of Buccleuch, prove that Wilkie had already attained considerable certainty of touch and power of rendering character. A scene from Allan Ramsay, and a sketch from Macneill’s ballad of Scotland’s Skaith, afterwards developed into the well-known Village Politicians, were the first subjects in which his true artistic individuality began to assert itself.
In 1804 Wilkie returned to Cults, established himself in the manse, and began his first important subject-picture, Pitlessie Fair, which includes about 140 figures, and in which he introduced portraits of his neighbors and of several members of his family circle. In addition to this elaborate figure-piece, Wilkie was much employed at the time upon portraits, both at home and in Kinghorn, St Andrews and Aberdeen. In the spring of 1805 he left Scotland for London, carrying with him his Bounty-Money, or the Village Recruit, which he soon disposed of for £6, and began to study in the schools of the Royal Academy. One of his first patrons in London was Stodart, a pianoforte maker, a distant connection of the Wilkie family, who commissioned his portrait and other works and introduced the young artist to the dowager-countess of Mansfield. This lady’s son was the purchaser of the Village Politicians, which attracted great attention when it was exhibited in the Royal Academy of 1806, where it was followed in the succeeding year by the Blind Fiddler, a commission from the painter’s lifelong friend Sir George Beaumont.
Sir David Wilkie “Arrival of the Rich Relatives” is a etching measuring 8.50 by 10 inches (plate-mark) printed in a soft sepia brown ink in good condition and is unsigned.
Art (paintings, prints, frames)