Joseph Wright (1734-1797) arrived in Bath from his native Derby in November 1775. Recently returned from a tour of Italy, he came to the fashionable spa town to re-establish his business as a portrait painter, hoping to fill the vacancy left by Thomas Gainsborough the previous year. This book, the first to examine Wright's little-known Bath period, places the artist in the context of a city then at the height of its unique cultural significance. Using rarely-seen illustrations of his work, it considers his attempts to conquer a saturated portrait market with images of local celebrities, and his use of domestic spaces for public exhibition. His celebrated views of fireworks in Rome and the terrors of Vesuvius were first shown in Bath. Beautifully illustrated and highly readable, Joseph Wright of Derby: Bath and Beyond sheds new light on a key moment in this important English artist's career, deepening our understanding of his life and work as a whole.
Amina Wright is Senior Curator at the Holburne Museum in Bath and has been Curator of Fine Art there since 2001. She was closely involved in the Holburne's major redevelopment project, completed in 2011, as well as a number of exhibitions relating to British eighteenth-century painting, drawings and Georgian Bath. Previous publications include the exhibition catalogues Pictures of Innocence: Children in Portraits from Hogarth to Lawrence (2005) and Pickpocketing the Rich: Portrait Painting in Bath 1720-1800 (2002).