William Bell (artist)

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William Bell
EducationRoyal Academy of Art
OccupationPortrait Artist
Known forArt and Portrait Painting
ChildrenElizabeth Bell (b. abt. 1773)

William Bell, born about 1734/5, was an English portrait painter originally from Newcastle upon Tyne.[1] In around 1768 he moved to London, to be a student in the Royal Academy of Arts. While there, in the year of 1771, he received a gold medal for his painting of Venus entreating Vulcan to forge arms for her son Æneas.[2] William Bell's best-known works were the portraits painted for the family of Delaval, of Seaton Delaval Hall.[3] These paintings earned Bell the patronage of Lord Delaval, and in 1775 he exhibited two views of Delaval Hall. A portrait he painted of Robert Harrison, 1715-1802, is displayed in the National Portrait Gallery, London.[4] William Bell died on 8 June 1794 and was buried on 10 June, in St Andrew's Church, Newcastle upon Tyne; his death was reported in the Newcastle Courant (14 June 1794) thus: "DIED, Sunday morning, Mr William Bell, an eminent Portrait Painter, whose memory will be esteemed at long as his animated productions remain, many of which bear testimony to his abilities in this part of the kingdom".


Portrait of Lord John Hussey Delaval, painted by William Bell in 1774
Portrait of Sophia Anne Delaval, painted by William Bell in 1770
Portrait of John Delaval (1756–1775) as an archer, painted by William Bell in 1770
Portrait of sisters Frances and Sarah Delaval, painted by William Bell in 1771
Portrait of Susanna Robinson, Lady Delaval, painted by William Bell in 1770
Portrait of Elizabeth Delaval playing a lyre in a landscape setting, by William Bell in 1774
Painting of the North Face of Seaton Delaval Hall, by WIlliam Bell in 1775
Painting of the South Front of Seaton Delaval Hall, by William Bell in 1775
Portrait of mathematician and biologist Robert Harrison, painted by William Bell in 1791


  1. ^ Nisbet, A. (2004). "Bell, William (1734/5–1806?)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/2032. Retrieved 2 October 2015. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  2. ^ Dictionary of National Biography, Volumes 1-20, 22
  3. ^ 11 paintings by or after William Bell, Art UK: see extended Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists biography, under "artist profile". Retrieved 2013-11-20.
  4. ^ "National Portrait Gallery - Person - William Bell". London: National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 20 November 2013.