Bell, William (1740?-1804?) (DNB00)

BELL, WILLIAM (1740?–1804?), portrait painter, was born at Newcastle-upon-Tyne about the year 1740. He came to London about 1768 and entered as a student the schools of the Royal Academy, which had just then been founded, and in 1771 he carried off the gold medal for his picture of 'Venus entreating Vulcan to forge arms for her son Æneas.' Being patronised by Lord Delaval, he painted several full-length portraits of members of that nobleman's family, and in 1775 he exhibited at the Royal Academy two views of Seaton Delaval, his lordship's seat. Still he did not make any further progress, but returned to Newcastle, where he maintained himself by portrait painting until his death, which took place about 1804.

[Redgrave's Dictionary of Artists, 1878.]

R. E. G.