|Place of Birth||London|
|Place of Death||Southsea|
Richard Brydges Beechey was one of eighteen children of the British painter Sir William Beechey. His mother was a talented miniaturist. He married Frideswide Smyth of Portlick Castle, Co. Westmeath, in 1844, Having entered the Navy in 1822, he eventually rose to the rank of admiral. He settled in Monkstown, Co. Dublin, where he remained until 1877. As an artist he specialized in marine paintings, especially naval subjects and ports in Ireland, Britain, the Pacific and the Mediterranean, but he also depicted other scenes.
With Lieutenant James Woolfe, also of the Royal Navy, Beechey was engaged in surveying Lough Erne, navigating round it in a cutter, during the summer of 1835. The purpose of the survey was to provide navigable communication from the east coast of Ireland to the west coast. Beechey provided the sketch from which James Lee made the woodcut ‘View of St. Patrick’s Purgatory, on Lough Derg’, for John Barrow’s A Tour round Ireland. He also sketched the Round Tower and abbey on Devenish Island in the company of Barrow, with whom he had been acquainted before 1835. Drawings and watercolours of the Shannon and its lakes made during the survey by Beechey and Woolfe are held in the National Archives at Kew, and can be viewed at the Irish Waterways History website http://irishwaterwayshistory.com/abandoned-or-little-used-irish-waterways/the-lower-shannon/shannon-south/the-survey-of-lough-derg-1839/ (accessed 16.01.2014).
Ann Crookshank and the Knight of Glin, The Painters of Ireland, 1660-1920 (London: Barrie & Jenkins, 1979), pp. 203-204.
Ann Crookshank and the Knight of Glin, The Watercolours of Ireland (London: Barrie & Jenkins, 1994), p.170.
H. L. Mallalieu, The Dictionary of British Watercolour Artists up to 1920 (Antique Collectors' Club, 1986), vol. 1, p. 36.