Joseph Wright of Derby heads to the Buxton Museum for new Georgian Faces Exhibition

By Richard Moss | 15 March 2011
a painting showing a group of illuminated figures looking at an Orrery
Joseph Wright, A Philosopher giving that Lecture on the Orrery© Derby Museum and Art Gallery
Exhibition: Faces in the Crowd - Joseph Wright and Friends in Georgian Derbyshire, Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, Buxton, until May 31 2011

Visitors drawn to the Georgian architecture of Buxton may want to head to the High Peak spa town’s museum this spring for an illuminating glimpse into the Derbyshire's Regency past.

Eight stunning paintings by of one of the county's eminent sons, Joseph Wright of Derby, have ventured north from their home at Derby Museum and Art Gallery for the exhibition, which is part of a scheme to create a collection about the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

It features some illuminating images from the master of the Chiaroscuro effect, including A Philosopher Giving that Lecture on the Orrery, The Alchymist and the Blacksmith’s Shop.

As well as offering the chance to see dramatic works by Wright capturing the magic of industry and science in the Age of Enlightenment, the exhibition highlights some famous local Georgian faces including the Fifth Duke of Devonshire, the engineer James Brindley by Francis Parsons and an intriguing rendering of the Glee Club singers of Tideswell.

The latter were a famous feature of Georgian Derbyshire. One of their number, Samuel "Singer" Slack (1757-1822), even performed for King George III at Windsor. 

Other faces include Wright’s portraits of Derbyshire’s other famous Regency sons, Erasmus Darwin and the first Astronomer Royal, John Flamsteed.

Period views of the Derbyshire countryside complement the collection and include On the Derwent by Joseph Clayton Bentley and views of Matlock Bath by William Marlow and John Bluck.

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