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William Wissing, Dutch ca.1656 – 1687
Though from Amsterdam, Wissing’s early training took place under Willem Doudyns, a historical painter of The Hague. From there it is believed that he went to France where he acquired a passion for metallic flowers, huge weeds and fancy accessories. It is presumed he entered Sir Peter Lely’s studio upon arriving in England in 1676. Wissing came to be considered the most important of Lely’s later pupils, and grew into fashion after the death of his master.
The artist found obvious favor with the nobility, to the point of painting the royal family members. Apparently his good manners and gentleness recommended him well. Descamps, in his “Life of Wissing” comments; “In drawing his portraits, especially those of the fair sex, he always took the ‘beautiful’ likeness; and when any lady came to sit to him, whose complexion was any ways pale, he would commonly take her by the hand, and dance her around the room, till she became warmer; by which means he heightened her natural beauty, and made her fit to be represented by his hand.”
Wissing died in 1687 at Burghley, England. As his dated works in England began about 1684, all his known paintings were crowded into a four-year span.
Biography excerpted from the unpublished catalog by Edward P. Bentley for the Haussner Restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland, titled: Haussner’s, The Children.