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The Reading of a Will by David Wilkie R.A.

Reading of the Will by WilkieWilkie engraving - Reading of a Will
Reading the Will
 

A well known legal image of a family and solicitor reading a will. Exquisite detail. Ideal gift for Lawyer, Solicitor or Barrister.

See also Rent Day engraving after Wilkie

'To His Majesty Maximillian Josef of Bavaria, This Engraving of THE READING OF A WILL,from the Original Picture in His Majesty's Collection is most respectfully dedicated by His Majesty's humble and devoted Servant David Wilkie.
Published June 1st 1825 by Hurst Robinson & Co. Print sellers to his Majesty, 6 Pall Mall, London.'


Condition: Bold image, laid down on museum board, repaired split to top centre, later hand colouring

Title: The Reading of a Will
Medium: Steelplate Line Engraving 1st June 1825 Image Size: 400 x 608mm, 15.75 x 24"
Order No. 7291 Price: SOLD Paper Size: 528 x 668mm, 20.75 x 26.25 "
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Biography:

David Wilkie - The son of a minister, was born in Cults, Fife, on 18 November 1785. He attended the Trustees' Academy of Design in Edinburgh from 1799 to 1804 and, upon completing his studies, moved to London in 1805 and gained admission at the Royal Academy where his contemporaries included Andrew Geddes. Here he encountered almost immediate success when the first of his realistic portrayals of rural life, The Village Politicians, was unveiled at the Academy's 1806 exhibition. A string of equally acclaimed paintings in the same vein followed, including The Blind Fiddler (1807), The Card Players, The Rent Day (both 1808), The Village Festival (1812), Blind Man's Buff (1813), Distraining for Rent (1815), The Scotch, or Penny Wedding (1818). The homely simplicity of Wilkie's compositions stood in marked contrast to the artificial and contrived nature of much contemporary genre painting and signalled a turning-point in British Art. Together with Sir Henry Raeburn, he was hailed as the founder of a new 'Scottish School' of painting. Wilkie collaborated on popular print-versions of his paintings with Abraham Raimbach which brought both men considerable financial success. Public acclaim was accompanied by professional recognition. Wilkie was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1809, when he was only 24 years old, and a full member in 1812. Following the death of Raeburn in 1823, he was appointed His Majesty's Limner for Scotland.

Wilkie's always frail health was badly shaken in 1825 by a series of family bereavements and by the financial collapse of his print sellers Heath & Robinson. A long stay in Italy permitted him to convalesce, followed by a visit to Spain which would prove an artistic revelation. Velasquez and Murillo now displaced the Dutch masters as his chief mentors and in the Royal Academy's 1829 exhibition he unveiled eight new works painted under their influence, including The Maid of Saragossa, The Pifferari, and The Guerrilla Council of War. The Spanish style continued to inform his most important later works such as Preaching of Knox before the Lords of the Congregation (1832), The First Earring (1835), Napoleon and the Pope in Conference at Fontainebleau (1836), and Sir David Baird Discovering the Body of Tippoo Saib (1839). He succeeded Sir Thomas Lawrence as Painter-in-Ordinary to the King in 1830 and was knighted in 1836. In 1840 he travelled to Constantinople, Jerusalem, and Alexandria (where he painted the Pacha Mehemet Ali). He died suddenly on the return journey and was buried at sea near Gibraltar, an event commemorated in one of J.M.W. Turner's most celebrated paintings.

John Burnet (1781 or 1784–1868)
Scottish painter and engraver, born either in Edinburgh in March 1781 or in Fisherrow in March 1784. His father was Surveyor-General of Excise for Scotland. Young Burnet was apprenticed to the engraver Robert Scott (1771–1841) and later trained at the Trustees Academy.

In 1806 he moved from Edinburgh to London, where he became established as a painter of portraits, landscapes and rural genre scenes. Some of the seven oil sketches for a representation of ‘Greenwich Pensioners Commemorating the Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, 1835’ in the National Maritime Museum, London, show Burnett at his best. They reveal spontaneity and immediacy in the fluid handling of the paint, lacking in the final work (painted as a pendant to Wilkie’s ‘Chelsea Pensioners reading the Waterloo Dispatch’ for the Duke of Wellington and now in Apsley House, London).

Between 1808 and 1862, he regularly exhibited at the Royal Academy, the British Institution and with the Society of British Artists. A skilful engraver, Burnet provided illustrations for editions of Robert Burns’s poems and Walter Scott’s ‘Waverley’ novels. He also engraved his ‘Greenwich Pensioners’ painting, working from a fine watercolour reduced copy made by S. P. Denning, which is also in the National Maritime Museum, London. He combined his artistic activities with writing manuals and books on drawing, painting and artists. His contribution to the arts was recognized with the award of a fellowship to the Royal Society. Retiring from public life in 1860, he died in Stoke Newington, London, on 29 April 1868.

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Reading of a Will - original 19th century engraving by John Burnet after David Wilkie.

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