'Richard Gildart', Joseph Wright of Derby, 1768
Oil on canvas, 125 x 100cm
Accession Number WAG 10637
Wright worked as a portraitist in Liverpool between 1768 and 1771. He had an enormous impact on the local art scene. His works from this period reflected and helped define taste in a growing mercantile city.
Gildart was one of Liverpool's most prominent citizens during the 18th century. He was a merchant in the sugar trade all his life, Mayor three times and a member of parliament for nearly twenty years. He was also involved in the slave trade, owning ships that transported slaves across the Atlantic.
Here he is 95 years old. Wright's formidable portrait is unflinching in its directness.