Portrait of Maclise by Edward Matthew Ward, © National Portrait Gallery, NPG 616 (on the Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 licence).

Daniel Maclise "was born [Daniel McClish] in Ireland on February 2, 1806, the son of Alexander McClish, a shoemaker. He studied at the Cork School of Art which was established in 1822. Maclise then set up his own portrait studio. The artist came to London in 1827, and entered the Royal Academy Schools the following year. In 1829 he won the Silver Medal for drawing from the antique and made his debut at the Academy's annual exhibition with Malvolio Affecting the Count. Two years later he won the Schools' Gold Medal for history painting with the Choice of Hercules. In 1835 he began to spell his name Maclise instead of McClish. He exhibited a large number of successful history compositions at the Royal Academy, and his career flourished. In 1843 Queen Victoria purchased his Scene from Undine to present to Prince Albert on his birthday. The Prince in his turn commissioned Maclise to execute one of the frescoes in the Garden Pavilion at Buckingham Palace. . . This was followed by commissions for two frescoes in the New Palace of Westminster: The Spirit of Chivalry completed in 1848 and The Spirit of Justice completed in 1849 . . . . In 1857 he agreed to paint two huge frescoes in the Royal Gallery in the new Parliament buildings, and in 1859 he began The Meeting of Wellington and Blucher. Work on this and its pendant, The Death of Nelson, was not completed until 1865 and the effort completely undermined his health.

In 1835 he was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy and in 1840, a full Member. In 1866, he declined to be put forward for its Presidency. During his career he exhibited eighty-four works there and in 1875, a group of fifteen of his paintings was shown at the Academy's Winter Exhibition." — Christopher Forbes, p. 102.

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Forbes, Chrisopher. The Royal Academy Revisited, 1837-1901. Ed. and Intro. by Allen Staley. New York: Forbes Magazine, 1975.

Last modified 23 September 2018