Cosway, Richard (1740 -1821)
Richard Cosway, the celebrated painter of miniature portraits, was born in Tiverton, Devon. The son of a schoolmaster, he received his education at Blundell’s School. In 1754 the Society of Artists awarded him a prize, and in 1762, at the age of twenty, he held his first exhibition which was a great success. In 1771 he was elected to the Royal Academy. His clients included the Prince of Wales, the future George IV, and Madame Marie du Barry, mistress of Louis XV of France. On 18 January 1781, Cosway married the Anglo-Italian artist Maria Hadfield, twenty years his junior, who was much admired by Thomas Jefferson. In 1784, the Cosways moved into Schomberg House, Pall Mall, which became a fashionable salon for London society. In 1791 they moved to a larger house in Stratford Place. However, the marriage did not last, and was eventually annulled. In later life, Cosway suffered from mental disorders and spent some time in various institutions. He died in London in 1821 and was buried at Marylebone New Church. Sir John Soane bought more than thirty objects put up for sale at auction after Cosway's death.