Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Peckitt, William

1157380Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 44 — Peckitt, William1895Lionel Henry Cust

PECKITT, WILLIAM (1731–1795), glass-painter, the son of a husbandman, was born in April 1731 at Carlton Husthwaite, near Easingwold, Yorkshire. He was brought up as a carver and gilder, but of his own accord adopted glass-painting as a profession. According to one account, Peckitt was entirely self-taught; but another more probable story is that he learnt from William Price, who had studied under Henry Gyles [q. v.] In 1753 Peckitt completed an emblematical subject of ‘Justice’ on glass, which he presented to the corporation of York, and which is still in the justice-room of the guildhall at York; for this he was admitted gratis to the freedom of the city in 1754. In 1762 he executed the east window in Lincoln Cathedral, and in 1764 was commissioned by the dean and chapter of Exeter to paint the west window of the cathedral there. In 1765 he commenced a series of paintings in the north side of New College, Oxford, consisting of apocryphal portraits of church dignitaries and worthies from the designs of Biagio Rebecca, R.A. In 1767 he executed for Oriel College a window with ‘The Presentation of Christ in the Temple,’ from the designs of Dr. Wall, a physician and amateur artist. In 1775 Peckitt completed from the design of G. B. Cipriani, R.A., the absurd and pretentious window in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, into which portraits of Francis Bacon, Sir Isaac Newton, and George III are introduced. In York Minster there are four windows painted by Peckitt in the south transept: one of these was presented by him to the dean and chapter, and set up in 1768, and the remaining three were bequeathed to them by his will and set up after his death. Peckitt married, on 3 April 1763, Mary, daughter of Charles Motley, a sculptor of York. He died on 14 Oct. 1795, and was buried in the churchyard of St. Martin's, Micklegate, at York, in which parish he had resided. Peckitt had considerable reputation during his lifetime as a glass-painter, and made several new experiments in the use of coloured glass. His work is, however, of very inferior merit, and, certainly at York, incongruous and wanting in true artistic taste.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Davies's Walks through the City of York; Dallaway's Anecd. of the Arts in England; Gent. Mag. 1817, pt. i. p. 392.]

L. C.