The Berger Collection

Collection: Sir William Beechey, RA (1753-1839)

Sir William Beechey, RA (1753-1839)

Sir William Beechey was born in Burford, Oxfordshire. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1774 and first exhibited at the Academy in 1776. He spent some time working with Johann Zoffany before setting up on his own in London. (See the painting by Johann Zoffany in the Berger Collection, Benjamin Stillingfleet). In 1782, Beechey moved to Norwich, east England, where he painted the local gentry. Returning to London in 1787, he began to make a name for himself. In 1793 he was elected associate member of the Royal Academy and was made Portrait Painter to the Queen. Five years later he was knighted and made a full member of the Academy. In the nineteenth century, partially eclipsed by Sir Thomas Lawrence, Beechey settled down to a less high-profile, yet nonetheless lucrative, career painting fashionable society portraits.