POWLES, Richard

1763 - 1807

Richard Powles was born at Lowestoft, Suffolk on 15 December 1763, son of Thomas Powles and his wife Amy née Diston. According to his obituary, he started work as a boy at the Lowestoft china factory ‘to support his mother’, where he remained until he was ‘grown up’. His natural ability in figure drawing and artistry was recognised and was well used in the factory, where he seemed to have specialised in overglaze decoration, although several pieces of underglaze blue are attributed to him. About 1784 he is said to have joined his maternal uncle in Denmark but one of his dated drawings shows that he was in Lowestoft in the same year and again two years later, but he certainly travelled between Lowestoft and Denmark for several years. Richard married on 17 February 1787, Deliana Williams, daughter of David Williams and Hannah née Chambers, and returned to Denmark where their two sons were born, John Diston Powles (1787-1867) who became a successful entrepreneur in London and his second son, Thomas Powles was baptised in Helsingor, Fredriksborg on 4 May 1789 and was buried in Lowestoft 2 January 1792; the baptism of a third son, Richard took place at Lowestoft in 1791. The family then moved to London where Richard Powles became a merchant and a further six boys were added to the family. An artist of considerable ability and his water-colour paintings include one of Lowestoft High Street and several of his illustrations are in Gillingwater’s 'History of Lowestoft', with whom he corresponded from Denmark and on his wedding day he made a detailed drawing of ‘The North View of Kirkley Haven and part of Lake Lothing’. He published an account of Tycho Braye's observatory in the 'Gentleman's Magazine' in 1788 as well as an account of the origin of the name ‘Lothingland’. He also provided the Admiralty with charts of the sea around Elsinour, Denmark. Richard Powles was buried on 31 December 1807.

Works by This Artist