Benjamin Wilson was born in Leeds and died at Bloomsbury, London on 6 June 1788. He was the son of a prosperous merchant and major. As a young man, he developed a great enthusiasm for art, and even went to France for a year to study painting. Unfortunately for young Ben, however, his father's fortune was lost in a business failure, and he was obliged to set out on foot to London in search of employment. He worked there for some years as a clerk, but maintained his love of art, and developed a new interest in natural philosophy, making friends with the electrician William Watson and the then President of the Royal Society, Martin Folkes.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.