David Wilkie, a Scottish painter, was born in Cults manse in Fife in 1785.
In 1799, he was sent to study at the Trustees’ Academy in Edinburgh and
on his return home in 1804, painted his Pitlessie Fair. The Village
Politicians (1806) was of great success which made him settle in London.
In 1817, he visited Sir Walter Scott at Abbotsford, and painted the family
group now in the Scottish National Gallery.
His fame mainly rests on his genre pictures in the Dutch style, such as
the Distraining for Rent (1815),
Penny Wedding (1818), The Letter
of Introduction (1818) and others. Later he changed his style,
tried to imitate the depth and richness of coloring of the old masters
and chose more elevated historical subjects, like The
Preaching of John Knox before the Lords of Congregation, 10 June 1559.
He also painted portraits William Chalmers-Bethune,
his wife Isabella Morison and their Daughter Isabella (1804),
and was successful as an etcher.
In 1823, he was appointed King’s limner in Scotland, and in 1830 painter-in-ordinary
to King William IV. In 1840, for his health, he visited Syria, Palestine
and Egypt, but died on his voyage home.
Painting of Europe. XIII-XX centuries. Encyclopedic Dictionary.
Moscow. Iskusstvo. 1999.