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JOSEPH WRIGHT OF DERBY (DERBY 1734-1797)
Joseph Wright of Derby (Derby 1734-1797)

Portrait of Jedediah Strutt (1720-1797), half-length, in a brown waistcoat and jacket, leaning on a book

Details
Joseph Wright of Derby (Derby 1734-1797)
Portrait of Jedediah Strutt (1720-1797), half-length, in a brown waistcoat and jacket, leaning on a book
oil on canvas
30 1/8 x 25 1/8 in. (76.5 x 64 cm.)
Literature
B. Nicolson, Joseph Wright of Derby: Painter of Light, London and New York, 1968, I, p. 222.

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Lot Essay

This portrait was executed in the 1790s when the celebrated cotton manufacturer and inventor, Jedediah Strutt was established as a leading figure in Derby. It relates to a three-quarter-length portrait of Strutt, formerly in the collection of Lord Belper and now in the Derby Museum and Art Gallery, where it hangs near Wright's portrait of Arkwright. The present portrait is referenced in the Account Books as 'A copy of Mr. Strutt with a hand, £15.15'.

Jedediah Strutt was born at South Normanton, near Alfreton, Derbyshire, the second son of William Strutt, a small farmer and maltster, and his second wife, Martha, the daughter of Joseph Statham, a yeoman. He inherited his uncle's farm stock in 1754, and in 1762 he and his brother-in-law, William Woollat, went into partnership with the wealthy Nottingham hosier and dissenter Samuel Need. Need in turn introduced Strutt to Richard Arkwright, in 1769, shortly after his arrival in Nottingham. Strutt and Need each took one fifth of the partnership of Richard Arkwright & Co. In 1771, with the financial support of Strutt and Needs, Arkwright opened the world's first water-powered cotton mill at Cromford, Derbyshire, harnessing the streams running down to the Derwent. The first mill was five-storeys high with an attic floor. The simple, functional design of a long narrow building with relatively unbroken interior space was without counterpart in English architecture, a form which was the basis for industrial design for the remainder of the 18th and throughout the 19th centuries. Strutt remained in the partnership until 1782, a year after Need's death, by which stage he had built up an empire which included a calico factory at Derby and factories at Belper and Milford. Samuel Slater, an ex-apprentice of Strutt's at Milford, was instrumental in introducing the new system of manufacturing to North America in the 1790s.

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