Murillo became the most popular painter in his native Seville. His gentle, colourful interpretation of religious subjects, especially in large altarpieces and devotional images of the Virgin Mary, had widespread appeal. He also produced some fine portraits and scenes of everyday life which often featured children. In 1660 he helped found and became the first president of the Seville Academy of Art. Many of Murillo's secular paintings were purchased by foreign merchants living in Seville. His works were greatly admired by British collectors and artists in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.