Wissing, William

, an excellent portrait painter, was born at Amsterdam in 1656, and bred up under Dodaens, an historical painter at the Hague. On coming to England, he worked some time for sir Peter Lely, whose manner he successfully imitated, and after whose death he came into fashion. He painted Charles II. and his queen, James II. and his queen, and the prince and princess of Denmark; and was sent over to Holland, by king James, to draw the prince and princess of Orange. What recommended him to the esteem of Charles II. was his picture of the duke of Monmouth, whom he drew several times and in several attitudes. He drew most of the then court, and became competitor with sir Godfrey Kneller, whose fame was at that time increasing every day. It is said that, in drawing portraits of the fair sex, when any lady came to sit, whose complexion was rather pale, he would commonly take her by the hand, and dance about the room till she became warmer and her colour increased. This painter died much lamented at Burleigh-house, in | Northamptonshire, Sept. 10, 1687, aged only thirty-one; and was buried in St. Martin’s church, Stamford, where a marble tablet, with a Latin inscription, was placed by John earl of Exeter. There is a mezzotinto print of him, under which are these words, “Gulielmus Wissingus, inter pictores sui saeculi celeberrimus, nulli secundus, artis suse non exiguuai decus & ornamentum. Immodicis brevis est aetas.1


First edit, of this Dict. Walpole’s Anecdotes. Pilkington,