Richards combined a career as both landscape and scenery painter, being principal painter at Covent Garden theatre for over twenty years. He was a painter chiefly of topographical landscapes, and these cover locations from Kent, Surrey and the West Country as far afield as Ireland. However, some of his views seem to have been copied from paintings by others. For example, this watercolour may have been copied after a (lost) oil of Charlton Wood by the landscape painter George Lambert (1700-1765). Richards was a founder member of the Royal Academy in 1768. In 1788 he became the Academy's Secretary, and is represented settling the catalogue for 1795 in a drawing in the Oppé Collection by George Dance (no.41).
Gallery label, September 2004