Page last updated at 19:18 GMT, Tuesday, 1 July 2008 20:18 UK

Appeal to buy Arkwright portrait

Harris Museum and Art Gallery (Pic courtesy of Preston City Council)
The two galleries have to raise a total of 420,000 to buy the portrait

A Preston museum and art gallery has started an appeal with the National Portrait Gallery to buy a painting of one of Preston's most famous sons.

The Harris Museum and Art Gallery and the London gallery have just 12 weeks to raise 420,000 for the painting of textile engineer Sir Richard Arkwright.

The portrait, painted by Joseph Wright of Derby, was last exhibited in 1883.

Sir Richard Arkwright, who was also an inventor, is viewed as a leading figure of the Industrial Revolution.

He was the son of a tailor in Preston and began life as a barber.

The cotton-spinning frame for which he is known was invented in Preston in 1768 and patented in 1769.

Founding father

In 1771, he established his first water-powered cotton mill at Cromford, Derbyshire, where he also developed a major industrial empire.

The portrait by Joseph Wright was painted at the height of Sir Richard's success in the mid-1780s. Shortly after the portrait was completed he was knighted in 1786.

The art charity the Art Fund has kicked off the appeal to buy the portrait by donating 100,000 to the pot.

David Barrie, director of the Art Fund, said: "This impressive and evocative painting is a fine example of Joseph Wright of Derby's fascination with the leading industrial figures of the time.

"Arkwright, a complex self-made man, was the founding father of the modern factory system and enormously influential.

"Despite being born in Preston there is currently no portrait of him in the local museum and I'm delighted that this excellent example will now have the opportunity to join both the Harris Museum and National Portrait Gallery's collections."


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