Artist biography

De Wint was born at Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, the son of a physician of Dutch ancestry who had come to England from New York. He moved to London in 1802, and was apprenticed to John Raphael Smith, the mezzotint engraver and portrait painter. He bought his freedom from Smith in 1806, on condition that he supply eighteen oil paintings over the following two years. In 1806 he visited Lincoln for the first time, with the painter of historical subjects William Hilton, whose sister Harriet he married in 1810. De Wint and Hilton lived together in Broad Street, Golden Square, where John Varley also lived. Varley gave De Wint further lessons and introduced him to Dr Monro, who ran an informal academy for young artists.

De Wint first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1807, and the following year at the Gallery of Associated Artists in Watercolours. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1809. He was elected an Associate of the Old Watercolour Society in 1810 and was made a full member the following year. By that time, as an established drawing-master, he was spending his summers teaching well-to-do provincial families. He frequently visited his wife's home city of Lincoln, and many of his panoramic landscapes and haymaking scenes are set in Lincolnshire. He occasionally toured in Wales, and in 1828 travelled to Normandy.

Further reading:
David Scrase, Drawings & Watercolours by Peter De Wint, exhibition catalogue, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge 1979
Hammond Smith, Peter De Wint 1784-1849, London 1982

Terry Riggs
October 1997