WEST, RICHARD WHATELY

(b. 1848, d. 1905)

Landscape Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

He was the second son of the Rev. John West, Dean of St. Patrick's, and Elizabeth Margaret, daughter of Charles Dickinson, Bishop of Meath, and was born in Dublin on 18th January, 1848. His father was for many years chaplain and secretary to Archbishop Richard Whately, and hence the child received the names of "Richard Whately." He was educated at St. Columba's College, and in 1866 entered Trinity College, where he graduated with honours in 1870. He was afterwards at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and on his leaving spent a few years in schoolmastering, first at Gloucester and then at Fettes College. From his earliest years he showed a talent for drawing, but had no special instruction in art. At Cambridge he was noted as a caricaturist, and afterwards went on steadily improving himself in drawing and painting. In 1878 the first picture he sent to the Royal Academy, "A Coal Wharf at Rotherhithe," was hung, and from that year until 1888 he had seven pictures accepted. He also exhibited at various other galleries in London and the provinces, and in the Royal Hibernian Academy. He went abroad in 1883 on a commission to make sketches in the Riviera for the "Art Journal." In 1885 he spent two months in Alassio, and in 1886 was painting in Ireland and in Wales. From July, 1889, until July, 1890, he was again in Ireland, staying with his father until the old man's death.

In the autumn of 1890 he took up his residence permanently at Alassio, which had always great attractions for him, and spent the rest of his life there occupied with his art. But he never, during that period, sent any of his works to the Royal Academy or to any other exhibition. He died rather suddenly in February, 1905, and was buried at Florence. A little gallery was erected to his memory at Alassio, in which are 122 of his works. Three pictures by him are in the Victoria and Albert Museum: "Street Scene at Garessio, Piedmont," "The Roman Bridge at Andorra," and "A View in the Mountains at Andorra." The Alassio Gallery contains several pictures painted in Ireland: "Irish Cabins," "Sketch of Rocks, Bray Head," "Kilruddery and Little Sugar-loaf," "Bray Head," "Interior of an Irish Shebeen," drawn for a book illustration; "Heather on the Hillside," "On Bray Head," painted in 1882, "In County Wicklow." In opening the Gallery in 1907 Mr. Arthur Severn said that West "approached nature humbly, trying modestly to show forth its beauties and not his own skill."

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