Westall, Richard (1765-1836)

Richard Westall was commissioned to design prints by the Welsh publisher, John Boydell. He became Princess Victoria’s drawing master and produced a portrait of her in 1830.

Welch Peasants’  is one of a set of four engravings of national costumes (Welsh, Scottish, Irish and English) by Giuseppe Bortignoni after Richard Westall, 1799.

Although the costumes in this print are rather unusual, there may well be elements of accuracy in it. The central figure is wearing a striped long-sleeved bedgown which might be of wool with some silk – hence the shiny surface. The relatively short plain skirt is seen in other illustrations of the period. She is wearing white stockings and shoes. The seated figure on the right has a white kerchief around her head and another around her neck, over a red tail-less bodice.

There is a piece of cotton printed in about 1820 with images from this set of costumes in the V&A museum (T.43-1956)

Richard West also produced prints of ‘Boy of Glamorgan’, NLW PB6984 and ‘Girl of Caernarfon’, in 1788 NLW PB6984


Cuthbert, Nancy, Westall’s Peasants: British identity and the crisis of nation in 1799