Richard Brydges Beechey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Richard Brydges Beechey (1808 – 14 March 1895) was an Anglo-Irish painter and admiral in the Royal Navy.


Beechey was born to the British painters Sir William Beechey and Ann Phyllis Jessop.[1] His brothers included the British sea captain and painter Frederick William Beechey, the portraitist Henry William Beechey and the painter George Duncan Beechey.

Beechey joined the Royal Navy at the age of 14, and eventually rose to the rank of admiral. Like his father and two of his brothers he was a celebrated painter, who illustrated various ports and naval scenes.[2]


HMS Orpheus, by Richard Brydges Beechey, 1863.

After the Royal Naval College, Portsmouth, Beechey sailed in HMS Blossom, commanded by his brother Frederick William Beechey, into the Pacific, and then to the Bering Strait to attempt to support the Franklin Expedition. He was promoted lieutenant in 1828.[3] Then he served in the Mediterranean, and in 1835 was seconded to a survey of Ireland. He was made commander in 1846, and then in 1851 was promoted captain.[4] In 1879, long after the end of his active naval career, he was promoted to the rank of vice-admiral on the retired list.[5]

After his retirement from the Navy in 1864 he settled in Ireland, living for many years at Monkstown, and later in Pembroke Road, Dublin. He regularly exhibited paintings of maritime subjects at the Royal Hibernian Academy, of which was made an honorary member in 1868. In about 1877 he settled at Plymouth. [6]


In 1844, he married Frideswide Maria Moore Smyth (1819–1885) of Portlick Castle, Westmeath.[7] They had two daughters, Annie L. Beechey and Frideswide F. Beechey (1851–1919). In 1882 Frideswide was the first women to win a prize as a composer of chess problems and her book Chess Blossoms was published in 1883 followed by Chess Fruits in 1884, which she co-wrote with her husband Thomas B Rowland.

In 1888, some three years after the death of his first wife, Richard married Frances, daughter of the Rev. Annesley Stewart of Trinity College, Dublin.


Beechey died at 9 Portland Terrace, Southsea, on 8 March, 1895.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ John Wilson, ‘Beechey, Sir William (1753–1839)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2006 accessed 2 May 2017
  2. ^ [1] Beechey at European Watercolours Oct. 02, 2007.
  3. ^ Rée, Peta. "Beechey, Henry William". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/1948.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. ^ H. L. Mallalieu (1986). The Dictionary of British Watercolour Artists up to 1920. Antique Collectors' Club. p. 36. ISBN 1-85149-025-6.
  5. ^ "ADMIRALTY, June 16, 1879" (PDF). Edinburgh Gazette (9010): 623. 20 June 1879.
  6. ^ a b Strickland, Walter (1913). "BEECHEY, RICHARD BRYDGES, Hon. R.H.A.". A Dictionary of Irish Artists (Library Ireland online ed.).
  7. ^ [2] Portlick Castle. Retrieved Oct. 02, 2007

External links[edit]