Richard Willes Maddox
British, 1851/2 - ?
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British artist, painted in oils and watercolour. Born circa 1852 in Constantinople, Turkey, of British parents; one elder sister named Isabella. He is often confused with the artist Willes Maddox (1813-1853). He was married in 1890 at Saddlesworth, Yorkshire, and lived with his wife, Elizabeth, in Hampstead, London (neighbours on their street included the artists Lance Calkin and Joseph Benwell Clark (1857-1938)). Sadly, Maddox was listed as a widower, living alone, by the time of the 1901 census. His wife died in 1898; his sister's husband, Andrew Gillies, also died during that year. Maddox exhibited at the Royal Academy (RA) and the New Gallery (NG).
Richard Willes Maddox's father was Richard Leach Maddox, M.D. (1816-1902) who worked for many years in Constantinople and elsewhere in Europe as a medical doctor. He also gained a reputation as a prominent amateur photographer, inventing the gelatin "dry plate" silver bromide process, and for over forty years was associated with The British Journal of Photography and Almanac. An obituary written by his daughter, along with Maddox's 1871 article An experiment with Gelatino Bromide, is reprinted at artandmedicine.com.
By 1871, at the age of 19, R.W. Maddox listed his occupation in the census of that year as an artist; in later censuses he added 'sculptor' too. Around 1875, he was involved with the scheme by William Burges and the Marquis of Bute to restore Cardiff Castle, working as an assistant to H.W. Lonsdale on executing the wall paintings for the Banqueting Hall to designs by Burges.
Provided twelve colour illustrations for Hesba Stretton's The Sweet Story of Old, a Sunday Book for the Little Ones, circa 1885 ("The story of the Life of Jesus told so as to interest young children. The twelve full-page coloured illustrations add greatly to the interest and attractiveness of the volume."). Also contributed illustrations to an edition of Rev. Isaac Watts' Divine and Moral Songs (circa 1890s).
A partial list of works by Richard Willes Maddox include:
- Some winter birds (RA, 1888, no. 516)
- The contents of the hamper (RA, 1889, no. 179)
- A Portrait (NG, no. 76, 1890; Possibly lampooned by Punch as 'Undisguised Alarm. "What have I sat on?!" Perhaps you can tell us, Mr. R.W. Maddox.')
- Medea about to transform herself into an old woman to go as a spy to Iolcos (RA, 1894, no. 443)
- The fair maid of Astolat bearing her letter to the King at Westminster (RA, 1895, no. 319; picture subject taken from Malory; described by the reviewer in The Antiquary as unremarkable.)
- Dolce far niente (RA, 1896, no. 594, "A girl sits in green draperies in a garden of poppies and plays with yellow butterflies.")
- A flower girl (RA, 1896, no. 909)
- The fruit stall (RA, 1897, no. 1082)
- Happiness (RA, 1900, no. 331)
- Roses (RA, 1901, no. 137)
- Spring's golden glory (RA, 1901, no. 444)
- Anemones (RA, 1903, no. 477; "these are purple and white garden Anemones, in a china vase, placed in the middle of the picture, with a bloom or two at the base.")
- In the garden of roses (RA, 1904, no. 477)
- Dahlias (RA, 1904, no. 676)
- The way they have in the Army
- The Proposal
Here is a biography from The Dictionary of National Biography (1909) of Willis (Willes) Maddox (1813-1853), with whom Richard Willes Maddox is often confused:
"MADDOX, William (1813-1853), painter, was born at Bath in 1813. In early life he was patronised by William Beckford the younger of Fonthill, for whom he painted several sacred pictures, such as 'The Annunciation,' 'The Temptation,' 'The Agony in the Garden' &c. He exhibited for the first time at the Royal Acadey in 1844, sending a painting of a piece of still life which passed into Beckford's collection. In 1847 he exhibited his first important picture, 'Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah;' in 1849 he sent a portrait of Halil Aga Riskalla, and in 1850, one of the Turkish ambassadors, Mehemet Ali. In 1852 he sent 'Aina Tellet, or the Light of the Mirror,' and a portrait of the Duke of Hamilton. Owing to his success in painting the portraits of distinguished Turks, Maddox was invited to Constantinople to paint the sultan, for whom he executed several portraits. He died of fever at Pera, near Constantinople, on 26 June 1853. Maddox painted several good portraits, of which there are many examples at Bath and in Bristol."
Obituary of Richard Leach Maddox, M.D. (1816-1902), written by his daughter, Isabella:
"Born in 1816, for many years he lived a Constantinople, practicing there as a doctor, and where he married, in 1849, Amelia, a daughter of Benjamin Winn Ford, Esq., of that city, by whom he had a son, Richard Willes Maddox, artist, and a daughter, myself, the widow of Captain Andrew Gillies. My mother died in 1871, and in 1875 Dr. Maddox was married again to Agnes, a daughter of George Sharp, Esq. Of Newport, Isle of Wight, who survives him, and by whom he had one son, Walter Vaughan Maddox. In 1875 my father left England for Ajaccio, where he practiced among the English residents. From Corrisca he and Mr. Maddox went to Bordighera, remaining there some months. Dr. Maddox also practised near Genoa. He was also at different times resident physician to the late Duke of Montrose, the late Sir Watkins Williams Wynn, and the late Lady Katherine Bannerman. Dr. Maddox then lived for some years at Gunnersbury, and since 1886 has resided at Greenbank, Portswood, Southampton, in a most retired manner, but still interested in everything relating to science, frequently writing for journals and papers in America, France, and England. The loss to his family is beyond all words. They desire to thank the many scientific friends for their kindly sympathy, so much appreciated by them. My father’s medical attendant, Dr. Wales, said it was simply 'the triumph of mind over body' that had kept him alive so long. He was interred on the 15th inst. In the Southampton Cemetery."
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