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|Sir William Beechey|
Self-portrait of Sir William Beechey, c. 1790.
|Birth name||William Beechey|
12 December 1753|
|Died||28 January 1839(aged 85)|
|Field||Portrait Oil Painting|
He was originally meant for a conveyancer, but a strong love for painting induced him to become a pupil at the Royal Academy in 1772. Some of his smaller portraits gained him considerable reputation; he began to be employed by the nobility, and in 1793 became associate of the Royal Academy. In the same year he was made portrait-painter to Queen Charlotte.  His work has been described as relatively sober.
He painted the portraits of the members of the royal family, and of nearly all the most famous or fashionable persons of the time. What is considered his finest production is a review of cavalry, a large composition in the foreground of which he introduced portraits of George III, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York, surrounded by a brilliant staff on horseback. Among his portraits were those of Lord Nelson, John Kemble, and Sarah Siddons.
George III and the Prince of Wales reviewing troops was painted in 1798, and obtained for the artist the honour of knighthood, and his election as RA (member of the Academy). This painting was destroyed in the 1992 Windsor Castle fire.
William Beechey's first marriage was to Mary Ann Jones (* ca. 1760, † 1793)in 1772 (other sources say 1778). Beechey had five children with her:
- Emma Amalia Beechy (*1784; † 1859)
- Henry William Beechey (*1788; † 4 August 1862) British painter, egyptologist
- Charles Beechey (*1789)
- Caroline Beechey (*1790)
- Harriet Beechey (*1792)
He secondly married Ann Phyllis Jessop (*3 August 1764; 14 December 1833) in 1793 and had 16 children by her:
- Ann Phyllis Beechey (*1794; †December 1883)
- Frederick William Beechey (17 February 1796;– 29 November 1856), Royal Navy captain, geographer, politician
- George Duncan Beechey (*1798; † 6 December 1852), painter
- Anna Dodsworth Beechey (*1800)
- William Nelson Beechey (*3 August 1801; † 1 August 1878)
- Charlotte Earl Beechey (*3 August 1801; † 28 November 1849)
- Alfred Beechey (*24 June 1803)
- St. Vincent Beechey (*7 August 1806; †19 August 1899), clergyman
- Richard Brydges Beechey (*17 May 1808; † 14 March 1895), painter and admiral in the British navy
- Jane Henrietta Frances Beechy (*19 December 1809)
- Augusta Beechey (* 1812)
- Fredericka Anne Beechey (* 1814)
- William Ernest Beechey (* 1816)
- Frances Beechey (* 1818)
- Phyliss Beechey (* 1820)
- Daughter S. R. Beechey (* 1822)
A monograph by W. Roberts, Sir William Beechey, R.A., was published in London 1907 and includes Beechey's account books and a list of works exhibited in his lifetime.
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