Rowland Wheelwright was a painter and illustrator. Using a diffuse pastel palette, he depicted equestrian, historical, and maritime scenes.
Born to a family of sheep farmers in 1870 in Ipswich, Australia, he emigrated with his parents to England during the Australian drought of the 1880s. The artist went on to study at St. John's Wood Art School, and the Herkomer School of Art in Bushey from 1891-93. While in school, he became acquainted with painters such as Lucy Kemp-Welch while studying under Sir Hubert von Herkomer. Wheelwright exhibited both at the Royal Academy and the Paris Salon. His principal works include 'Joan of Arc Taken Prisoner', 'The Caravan', 'Enid and Geraint' and 'Don Quixote'. In 1908 Wheelwright married Jane Elizabeth Wheelwright née Stewart.
Although Wheelwright is recorded as a painter of historical and classical subjects, his major passion seems to be that of the heavy working horse. In the period 1900-1920 he produced some outstanding large finely executed canvases of the heavy horse at work.
He was elected to the Royal Society of British Artists in 1906 and also exhibited at the RA, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, Fine Art Society, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, National Society of Painters, Sculptors & Printmakers, Paris Salon, Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Royal Hibernian Academy and Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours.
In his later years he favoured paintings of bathing figures on Cornish beaches. Examples of his work are in the collections of Bushey Museum and Art Gallery, Cheltenham Art Gallery, Gallery Oldham, Harris Museum and Art Gallery Museums Sheffield and Torre Abbey Historic House and Gallery.