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John Wainwright was a successful painter of historical subjects and portraits. Born in Birmingham in 1855, Wainwright undertook art lessons whilst working as a junior assistant in a local firm. He then went to Paris to pursue further artistic studies at the Anvers Academy in the Velat studio.
After being affiliated to the Birmingham Society of Artists in 1881, Wainwright became a full member in 1884. In the same year he left Paris for London and, after a short period in Newlyn, he eventually settled in his birthplace, Birmingham, in 1885.
In 1906 Wainwright was elected a Member of the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolours and in the following years he was a frequent exhibitor at the Old Watercolours Society.