COSWAY, RICHARD (c. 1742-1821), English miniature painter, was baptized in 1742; his father was master of Blundell's school, Tiverton, where Cosway was educated. His success in miniature painting is said to have been started by his clever por trait of Mrs. Fitzherbert, which brought Cosway his earliest great patron, the prince of Wales. He speedily became one of the most popular artists of the day, and his residence at Schomberg house, Pall Mall, was a well-known aristocratic rendezvous. In 1791 he removed to Stratford place, where he lived in a state of great magnificence till 1821, when he went to reside in Edgware road. He died on July 4, 182I, and was buried in Marylebone New church.
Cosway, who married Maria Hadfield in 1781, had one child who died young. She is the subject of one of his most celebrated engravings. He painted miniatures of very many members of the royal family, and of the leading persons who formed the court of the Prince Regent. Perhaps his most beautiful work is his miniature of Mme. du Barry, painted in 1791. His work is of great charm and of remarkable purity, and he is certainly the most brilliant miniature painter of the 18th century.
For a full account of the artist and his wife, see Richard Cosway, R.A., by G. C. Williamson (19o5) .