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A Costly Joke of Richard Wilson

Richard Wilson was a landscape painter, and known as ''the Father of British Landscape". Though he achieved great fame, he died in poverty, just because of a costly joke.

In 1776 he sent to the Academy a picture of "Sion House from Kew Garden", which attracted the notice of king George III., and which he thought of buying. The King told Lord Bute thought the price too high, whereupon Wilson smilingly said: "Tell His Majesty he may pay for it by instalments." Lord Bute took the laughing remark seriously and was profoundly shocked. Poor Wilson lost the little favour that the Court ever showed to artists, and for the last years of his life his income was no more than £50 a year.

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