Wilson Online Reference
Captain William Baillie, 1723-1810
Connection to Wilson
Biographical Details
William Baillie was a Commissioner of the Stamp Office. He exchanged his study of law for a commission in the army but also bought, sold and collected art and was an amateur draughtsman and etcher. Together with the Irish painter, Nathaniel Hone, he assisted in the formation of Lord Bute's collection and began making prints from 1753 when he etched his own painting of a grenadier. He exhibited with the Society of Artists as an honorary exhibitor from 1762 until 1776, and was elected an honorary fellow. By 1803 Boydell was selling Baillie's complete works as 113 prints in two volumes, with impressions from three Rembrandt plates included. Opinions of Baillie's work varied dramatically but he himself was said in a letter signed 'J.C.' in the Somerset House Gazette (vol. 1, no. 19, 14 February 1824, pp. 300-301) to have 'been much employed in forming collections of art for our nobility, among whom were those of Lord Bute, and Lord Liverpool's at Addiscombe Park; and [to have] patronized Richard Wilson, the landscape-painter.' He is also described in another unsigned letter in the same periodical (no. 26, 3 April 1824, p. 414) as 'one of his [Wilson's] best friends'. He was reported as having got his brother, a naval officer who became Deputy Governor of Greenwich Hospital, to give 'Mr. Wilson a few commissions, which for a period helped to cheer his spirits [...] Baillie, who knew all the painters of the day, exerted himself with the most friendly zeal, in behalf of Wilson.' He also introduced Thomas Jones to Wilson as a pupil (Jones 1803, p. 9). Farington records that Baillie had told him that he had bought a Villa of Maecenas and another picture from Wilson for £27, though the former had been sold at Dr [John] Purling's sale [probably 16 February 1801 by White at 68, Portland Place (51 - A noble Landscape, View of Tivoli, bt Shalock)] for £246 (Farington Diary, vol. 4, pp. 1547-48; 8 May 1801). It is possible that the first picture was P71B Distant View of Maecenas' Villa, Tivoli , Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery, and the second P122C Lake Avernus - I, Private Collection, Wales.

Collector's mark: Lugt 210, 2603
Updated by Compiler
2018-06-20 00:00:00