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Sir William Beechey (British 1753-1839)

Sir William Beechey was born in 1753 in Burford, Oxfordshire.

By the age of 19, Beechey had been accepted to the Royal Academy Schools. Beechey had a passion for painting and the arts from a young age and grew a particular interest for portraits. Between 1782-1787, he lived in Norwich where he specialised in small-scale full length portraits, painting on commission for clients. He painted four portraits for St. Andrew’s Hall in Norwich. In 1787 he returned to London. In 1793 he painted a full length portrait of Queen Charlotte and was soon to become her official portrait painter. Beechey’s reputation led him not only to paint royal portraits but also become quite the fashionable socialite painter. He painted portraits of leading figures such as Lord Nelson, John Kemble and Sarah Siddons. One of Beechey’s most famous works of art was ‘George III and the Prince of Wales Reviewing Troops, 1798’ after which he was honoured with a knighthood and elected a full member of the Royal Academy. Unfortunately, this masterpiece was destroyed in the 1992 fire at Windsor Castle. Sir William Beechey died in 1839 at the age of 85.