BEECHEY, Sir William
(b. 1753, Burford, d. 1839, London)


English portrait painter. He was originally meant for a conveyancer, but a strong love for painting induced him to become a pupil at the Royal Academy in 1772. Some of his smaller portraits gained him considerable reputation; he began to be employed by the nobility, and in 1793 became associate of the Royal Academy. He painted many notabilities, including Nelson and Mrs. Siddons. He executed in all 364 portraits.

Beechey's careful, somewhat insipid style changed little throughout his successful career. He was appointed portrait painter to Queen Charlotte in 1793 and was knighted in 1798 in recognition of his most ambitious painting, the huge Review of the Horse Guard with King George III and the Prince of Wales (formerly Royal Collection; destroyed in the fire at Windsor Castle, 1992).