Of independent means, Wyld was never under pressure to earn a living from art. However, as secretary to the British Consul in Calais, he was able to exploit his diplomatic contacts to enhance his entrepreneurial career as an artist.
Wyld’s work was much influenced by his teacher, François Louis Thomas Francia, who in turn was a disciple of Thomas Girtin – a tradition made all the more secure by the influence of Bonington, who was Francia’s pupil as well.
Wyld was an intrepid traveller in Italy and Spain, and took up residence in Paris, producing lithographs. Together with Bonington, Boys and Callow, as well as John Constable and Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding, Wyld was one of the artists who reactivated the interest of the French in watercolour painting. Like them too, he was acclaimed by the French, receiving the Legion of Honour in 1855.
He inherited all the qualities of the Francia, Bonington School adding, in his Venetian views, the influences of Turner and Boys. His style, however, is more heavily worked than his mentors, both in colour and in detail. A critic noted that the subjects which best suited his tastes were, ‘palatial architecture, rich foliage, and water, seen in beautiful weather’.
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