John Michael Wright was the son of a London tailor. He was apprenticed to G. Jamesone in Edinburgh from the age of 19. From 1642, for some ten years, he lived in Rome and was a member of the Academy of St Luke. He also practised in France and ‘other parts’. After returning to England he became Picture Drawer to Charles II, producing royal portraits and designs for Charles’s bedchamber at Whitehall Palace. Reaction to the Popish Plot caused Wright to temporarily relocate to Dublin in 1678. James II’s accession in 1685 brought further royal commissions and Wright designed coaches, costumes and decorations for the procession accompanying an embassy to the Pope. Wright’s career declined during his later years and he died in relative poverty.
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