Wright's Liverpool portraits

Formal portrait of a seated old man with both hands resting on a walking stick

Wright spent most of his time in Liverpool painting portraits. On a page of his account book headed 'Sitters at Liverpool 1769' he listed twenty-eight names. We can calculate from this and his known absences from Liverpool that he completed a portrait every nine or ten days.

Wright's clients mostly came from Liverpool's leading merchant families, many of whom were connected by marriage as well as business. Many of their names - Clayton, Leece, Hardman, Tarleton - are familiar from today's street names. Wright also attracted patrons from the countryside around Liverpool, such as the Heskeths and Leighs.

Wright also developed a new style for his Liverpool portraits, concentrating on large plain forms, intense observation of detail, and high finish. These were some of the most remarkable of all 18th century portraits.