Thomas Wright (engraver)

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Nell Gwyn engraved by Thomas Wright after a painting by Peter Lely (1618-1680) Nell Gwyn 02.jpg
Nell Gwyn engraved by Thomas Wright after a painting by Peter Lely (1618–1680)

Thomas Wright (1792–1849) was an engraver and portrait-painter. After serving an apprenticeship with Henry Meyer, and worked for four years as assistant to William Thomas Fry, for whom he engraved the popular plate of Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold in a box at Covent Garden Theatre. About 1817 he began to practise independently as a stipple-engraver, and also found employment in taking portraits in pencil and miniature.

Henry Hoppner Meyer English portrait painter and engraver

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William Thomas Fry (1789–1843) was an English engraver. He was extensively employed in his profession, and died in 1843. He occasionally exhibited his engravings at the Suffolk Street exhibition.


Work in Russia

Wright became much associated with George Dawe, whose sister he married, and in 1822 followed him to St. Petersburg to engrave his gallery of portraits of Russian generals; there he also executed a fine plate of the Emperor Alexander, and another of the Empress Alexandra with her children, both after Dawe, on account of which he received diamond rings from members of the royal family and a gold medal from the king of Prussia.

George Dawe British artist

George Dawe was an English portraitist who painted 329 portraits of Russian generals active during Napoleon's invasion of Russia for the Military Gallery of the Winter Palace. He relocated to Saint Petersburg in 1819, where he won acclaim for his work from the artistic establishment and complimentary verses by Pushkin.He was the son of Philip Dawe, a successful mezzotint engraver who also produced political cartoons relating to the events of the Boston Tea Party. One of his brothers was Henry Edward Dawe, also a portraitist.

Saint Petersburg Federal city in the Northwestern federal district, Russia

Saint Petersburg is Russia's second-largest city after Moscow, with 5 million inhabitants in 2012, part of the Saint Petersburg agglomeration with a population of 6.2 million (2015). An important Russian port on the Baltic Sea, it has a status of a federal subject.

Alexander I of Russia Emperor of Russia

Alexander I was the Emperor of Russia (Tsar) between 1801 and 1825. He was the eldest son of Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg. Alexander was the first king of Congress Poland, reigning from 1815 to 1825, as well as the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland, reigning from 1809 to 1825.

Return to England

Wright returned to England in 1826, and during the next four years was employed upon the plates to Mrs. Jameson's ‘Beauties of the Court of Charles II,’ which constitute his best work; also upon some of the plates to the folio edition of Edmund Lodge's ‘Portraits.’ In 1830 he again went to Russia, and remained for fifteen years, working under the patronage of the court. There he published a series of portraits entitled ‘Les Contemporains Russes,’ drawn and engraved by himself. On finally leaving St. Petersburg Wright presented a complete collection of impressions from his plates, numbering about 300, to the Hermitage Gallery. He was a member of the academies of St. Petersburg, Florence, and Stockholm.

Edmund Lodge British officer of arms

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Hermitage Museum museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia

The State Hermitage Museum is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The second-largest art museum in the world, it was founded in 1764 when Empress Catherine the Great acquired an impressive collection of paintings from the Berlin merchant Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky. The museum celebrates the anniversary of its founding each year on 7 December, Saint Catherine's Day. It has been open to the public since 1852.

Imperial Academy of Arts art school in Russia

The Russian Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg, informally known as the Saint Petersburg Academy of Arts, was founded in 1757 by the founder of the Imperial Moscow University Ivan Shuvalov under the name Academy of the Three Noblest Arts. Catherine the Great renamed it the Imperial Academy of Arts and commissioned a new building, completed 25 years later in 1789 by the Neva River. The academy promoted the neoclassical style and technique, and sent its promising students to European capitals for further study. Training at the academy was virtually required for artists to make successful careers.


Wright contributed engravings to:


He was born at Birmingham on 2 March 1792. He died in George Street, Hanover Square, London, on 30 March 1849.

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Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1900). "Wright, Thomas (1792-1849)". Dictionary of National Biography . 63. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

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