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Joseph Wright of Derby was one of the most interesting and important painters of the late 18th century. Gracing the walls of world famous galleries in St Petersburg, New York, London and Australia – but its Derby where you will find the largest collection of Joseph Wright paintings on the globe.
Born in Derby in 1734, Wright remained closely involved with his home town, where he lived and worked for most of his life. Wright began his career as a local portraitist but quickly established his reputation with a series of striking nocturnal scientific and industrial paintings. Seeking to raise the standard and reputation of British art in the 18th century, Wright consequently took an active role in the artistic life of the capital and enjoyed considerable influence at the Society of Artists and rival institution, the Royal Academy.
The subject matter of many of Wright’s exhibition pieces reflects and engages with national ideas, tastes and concerns, in keeping with 18th century notions of the public value and importance of art. The artistic and literary inspirations behind Wright’s subjects are equally broad, reflecting a natural sense of curiosity and the encouragement of a wide and cosmopolitan network of friends, including several important scientists, thinkers, writers, poets and artists.
Joseph Wright Gallery
Visit the world's largest collection of Joseph Wright paintings at the Derby Museum and Art Gallery