MFA Boston acquires a Wright of Derby

January 11 2022

Image of MFA Boston acquires a Wright of Derby

Picture: @libson_yarker

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Dealers Libson & Yarker have shared yet another interesting piece of news that the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston have acquired Joseph Wright of Derby's The Rev. Dr Thomas Wilson and his adopted daughter Miss Catherine Sophia Macaulay. The work, dated to 1776, was undertaken whilst the artist was in Bath.

According to their catalogue note:

Painted for the distinguished clergyman Dr Thomas Wilson, it depicts Wilson and his adopted daughter, Catherine Sophia, the daughter of the radical republican historian Catherine Macaulay. The widowed Macaulay, a celebrated historian and polemicist, was in the midst of writing her unprecedented eight volume History of England; whilst she is not included in the portrait, both sitters are shown pointing at a volume of the History of England. As such, this portrait stands as a monument to one of the most progressive female historians of the eighteenth century and her unconventional relationship with Wilson. The painting is also a tour de force of Wright’s mature work as a portraitist.

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