Little is known about the family life of Richard Yeo, born about 1715 and a descendant of Henry Yeo of West Buckland. Richard became a very skilled artist and engraver, leading to his appointment in 1749 as Chief Engraver at the Tower of London, where English coins were minted. His father John Yeo might also have been an engraver. He had at least one daughter.
Richard died in 1779. His will describes him as ‘Richard Yeo of the Tower of London’, suggesting that he lived at his place of work. A collection of his tools and other items was sold the following year: A catalogue of the collection of coins and medals, of Richard Yeo, Esq; deceased; Late Chief Engraver of His Majesty’s Mint: in this collection are an half broad of Oliver, in fine preservation, and a variety of scarce and valuable proofs; also will be sold his stone-mill, large collection of engraving tools, casts in plaister, impressions in various compositions, a capital reflecting telescope, by short, and various colours for painting, among which is a quantity of his very curious and much esteemed lake. Which. by order of the executors, will be sold by auction, By Mess. Langford, at their House in the Great Piazza, Covent Garden, on Wednesday the 2d Day of February 1780, and the following day. The said collection may be viewed on Monday, January the 31st, and till the time of sale, which will begin each day punctually at twelve o’clock. Catalogues may be had gratis on the days of viewing, at Mess. Langford aforesaid.
Sheila researched Richard Yeo’s work in 2004, discovering that he first came to public attention in 1746 when he produced the official medal for the Battle of Culloden, also that he was a member of the incorporated Society of Artists and one of the founding members of the Royal Academy. The web site of the Royal Academy illustrates some of his work.
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