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 Richard Rothwell  (1800 - 1868)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom      Known for: Portrait painting

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Biography from Adam's (James Adam & Sons Ltd.):
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Richard Rothwell was born in Athlone in 1800.  He commenced his art studies in the Dublin Society's School in December 1814, and spent the next five years there, winning a silver medal for oil studies from the antique.  When the Royal Hibernian Academy was founded in 1823 he was made an associate, and the next year a member.

He sent portraits to the RHA between 1826 and 1829, when he left for London, as did so many of his countrymen, to find fame and fortune.  In London, he worked in the studio of Sir Thomas Lawrence, and upon Lawrence's death in 1830, Rothwell was entrusted with the completion of Lawrence's unfinished portraits.  He sent portraits of British nobility to the Royal Academy and won many commissions as a result.

Rothwell traveled to Italy in 1831 to study the works of the Old Masters and stayed there for three years.  Upon his return, however, he found difficulty in regaining his former esteemed status, as others had replaced him as a favored portrait painter.  He was said to be a man of a difficult disposition and quick to take offense, which often brought him into conflict with his fellow artists.

From 1830 to 1863, Rothwell exhibited at the Royal Society of British Artists.  He married Rosa Marshall, daughter of a Belfast physician, in 1842, and had several children.  In 1846 he returned from Dublin and in 1847, was re-elected RHA.  From 1849-54 he spent further time in London, and then lived in Leamington, before spending his last years in Paris and Rome, where he died in 1868.

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