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Richard Gilmore Douglas









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John Wesley at Prayer Asbury at His Devotions
John Wesley at Prayer, by Richard Gilmore Douglas Asbury at His Devotions, by Richard Gilmore Douglas

Richard Gilmore Douglas of Thirsk, England ranks as the foremost living painter of John Wesley, the Wesley family, and America's most famous bishop, Francis Asbury. Mr. Douglas's formal academic training includes a Diploma in Theology from Rhodes University, where his studies included Greek and Hebrew, and a B.Ed. degree from Durham University.

As a young Sunday School teacher, while pondering Wesley's sermon "The Almost Christian" Mr. Douglas trusted Jesus Christ as his Saviour. When he was twenty years old, Douglas left his native England to begin missionary work in Africa. Traveling on the hot, dusty trains of Namibia, he began reading John Wesley's sermons. He soon became a Methodist local preacher. While in Namibia, he began to draw John Wesley and scenes drawn from his writings. Routinely, in the cool of the evenings he worked at the craft of drawing. This pastime became more than a hobby. It developed into a compelling mission that grew with the years.

After serving thirteen years as a missionary in southwest Africa, health problems forced Mr. Douglas to return to England. He assumed a post at Eskdale School in Whitby, England and spent many years there teaching religion and art, while he continued to draw and paint. On his retirement, he became a full-time artist, specializing in portraits and paintings of John and Charles Wesley and Francis Asbury. Soon, Mr. Douglas gained wide recognition as the leading authority on the eighteenth-century Methodist leaders.

Mr. Douglas supplied portraits for the main centers of Methodism in England. The New Room at Bristol, the City Road Methodist Museum at London, and the Wesley family rectory at Epworth have displayed his paintings. Thousands who have come to these sites admire his work and photograph his paintings. In 1995, he painted a set of portraits and "Asbury in action" scenes for the Francis Asbury celebrations at Methodism's Central Hall in London. He also painted a set of Wesley paintings for Virginia Wesleyan College in America. England's BBC has featured his art on television programs.

In the 1990s, Richard Douglas came to know about Asbury Theological Seminary through one of its faculty members. In 2004 Mr. Douglas decided to place most of his life's work as a portrait painter of the Wesleys and Francis Asbury at the seminary bearing Asbury's name. This generous gift graces Asbury Theological Seminary with more museum-quality, original portraits of John and Charles Wesley and Francis Asbury than any other theological seminary in the world. As well, Dr. Douglas placed many scores of drawings, in black and white and in color, at Asbury Seminary.

Richard Douglas invested years of careful research into eighteenth-century customs and dress. Mr. Douglas has acquired extensive knowledge of the origin and growth of early Methodism, and he has studied all relevant portraits, engravings, and statuary of the Wesleys and Francis Asbury. This preparation combines with his recognized artistic gifts to qualify him as the premier living portrait painter of early Methodist figures.



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Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024