Joseph Wright of Derby: Bath and Beyond - Amina WrightLondon: Philip Wilson Publishers, 2014, Paperback.
Condition: Near Fine.
Published to accompany an exhibition held at the Holburne Museum, Bath, 25th January to 5th May 2014 and at the Derby Museum & Art Gallery, Derby, 24th May to 31st August 2014. Contains: Colour photographs; 4-column text (in part);
From the cover: “Joseph Wright (1734-1797) arrived in Bath from his native Derby in November 1775. Recently returned from a tour of Italy, he came to the fashionable spa town to re-establish his business as a portrait painter, hoping to fill the vacancy left by Thomas Gainsborough the previous year. He returned to Derby just eighteen months later.
This is the first book to examine Wright’s little-known Bath period, and places the artist in the context of a city then at the height of its unique cultural significance and dominated by lively social networks of literary salons, scientific clubs and well-to-do tradesmen. Using rarely-seen illustrations of his work, it considers his attempts to conquer a saturated portrait market with images of local celebrities, and his use of domestic spaces for public exhibition. In Bath, Wright employed his recollections of ‘wonderful sights’ in Italy to draw a crowd and amaze the public with cinematic spectacle. His celebrated views of fireworks in Rome and the terrors of Vesuvius were first exhibited in Bath. The beauty he had experienced abroad would later inspire his depictions of the Derbyshire countryside as Wright reinvented himself as a landscape painter. He also began to explore subjects from contemporary sentimental literature, inspired by antique sculpture, Laurence Sterne and his growing friendship with the poet William Hayley.
Beautifully illustrated and highly readable, Joseph Wright of Derby: Bath and Beyond sheds new light on a key moment in this important English artist’s career, deepening our understanding of his life and work as a whole.”