Richard Rothwell was born in Athlone, Ireland. He trained at the Dublin Society’s School and became a member of the Royal Hibernian Academy at 24. He later moved to London and initially enjoyed great success there. Rothwell continued to exhibit in Dublin, while also showing work at the Royal Academy in London. In 1831, he travelled to Italy to spend three years educating himself in Italian art. In 1842, he married the daughter of a Belfast doctor and the couple moved between Ireland, the US, London and Italy. However, Rothwell was unable to match the success of his first spell in London. Late in his career he moved from portraiture to Italianate subject pictures. While working in Rome in 1868 he developed a fever and died, aged about 73.
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