Henry William Beechey

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Henry William Beechey
Born 1788 or 1789
Died 1862
Nationality British
File:Henry William Beechey 001.jpg
Copy of a mural painting from the grave of Seti I, made by Beechey ca. 1818, and now in the British Museum

Henry William Beechey (1788/1789 – 1862),[1] painter and explorer, was a son of Sir William Beechey, RA, and followed his father's profession. He sent a marine subject to the Royal Academy in 1829, and another in 1838 to the British Institution (Graves's Dictionary of Artists, 1760-1880, page 18).


Some time before 1816 he had become secretary to Henry Salt, the British consul-general in Egypt, and at the latter's request accompanied Belzoni in that and the following year beyond the second cataract, for the purpose of studying and making designs of the fine monuments existing at Thebes. In the laborious excavation of the temple of Ipsambul, Beechey took his share; he also copied the paintings, in the king's tombs in the valley of Biban-el-Muluk, which had lately been opened by Belzoni. In common with Salt, Beechey had much to endure from Belzoni's suspicious and jealous nature (Life and Correspondence of Henry Salt, ed. Halls, volume ii.) About 1820 he returned to England, and the next year was appointed by Earl Bathurst, on the part of the colonial office, to examine and report on the antiquities of the Cyrenaica, his brother, Captain Beechey, having been detached to survey the coast-line from Tripoli to Derna. The results of this expedition, which occupied the greater part of the years 1821 and 1822, were chronicled in a journal kept by the brothers, to which Henry Beechey added numerous drawings, illustrative of the art and natural peculiarities of the classic region they were exploring, many of which were left out when the narrative came to be published in 1828.[2] Of the remainder of Beechey's life there is little record. He had seen much vicissitude, and in 1851 emigrated to New Zealand, where he died in 1862. He left a family. Besides his share in the above-mentioned work Beechey wrote a painstaking memoir of Sir Joshua Reynolds, prefixed to the edition of the latter's Literary Works, published in 2 vols. octavo, London, 1835, and afterwards reprinted in Bohn's Standard Library edition, 2 vols. octavo, London, 1852. Beechey became a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1825.[DNB 1][3]


  1. "Henry William Beechey". Royal Academy of Arts. Retrieved 13 March 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Gentlemen's Magazine 3rd ser. ii. 109.
  3.  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainStephen, Leslie, ed. (1885). "Beechey, Henry William (DNB00)". Dictionary of National Biography. 04. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 122–123.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

DNB references

These references are found in the DNB article referred to above.

  1. Family information.

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