RICHMOND, Sir William Blake

1842 - 1921

Sir William Blake Richmond

William Blake Richmond, was born at York Street, Marylebone, London on 29 November 1842 and baptised at Marylebone on 22 January 1843, one of the many children of George Richmond, RA (18091896), who painted the portraits of the most eminent people of his day, and his wife Julia (1812-1881). After coaching from John Ruskin (1819-1900), in 1857 he entered the Royal Academy schools, where he studied for about three years. After a visit to Italy in 1859 he began the study of old masters and his first Academy picture in 1861, was a portrait group. He married at Marylebone in 1864, Elizabeth Cardew, who died later that year and he married secondly at Ryde, Isle of Wight in 1867, 20 year old Clara Jane Richards (1846-1915) and they were the parents of Admiral Sir Herbert Richmond (18711946), a naval historian, and of Ernest Richmond (18741955), an architect. In 1874 Southwold churchwardens called upon his father George, to revive the 400 year old rood screen in Southwold church in Suffolk, which had sustained scratches to the faces of the angels, and his son William went on to rent Centre Cliff House, Southwold and also the Worlingham Hall estate near Beccles, Suffolk. In 1878, Richmond succeeded Ruskin as Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford University 1879-1883. William was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1888, and Royal Academician in 1895. He received the degree of D.C.L. in 1896, and a knighthood of the Order of the Bath in 1897, and became professor of painting to the Royal Academy. Although a successful portrait painter, Richmond wished to paint large, allegoric works which led him to take an interest in the design of stained glass and mosaic and in decorative art, his most conspicuous achievement was the internal decoration and the glass mosaics covering the spandrels and choir of St Paul's Cathedral, London. He died at Beavor Lodge, Hammersmith, London on 11 February 1921.

Works by This Artist