Biography (1849 - 1917)
Header Photo: The Lady of Shalott, 1888 (Detail)
Oil on canvas, 153 cm × 200 cm
Tate Britain, London
© Estate of J.W. Waterhouse
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John William Waterhouse ~ Biography
Painter (1849 - 1917)
Born: April 6, 1849
Birth place: Rome, Italy
Birth name: John William Waterhouse
Married: Esther Kenworthy, 1883 (2 children)
Elected: Royal Academician, 1895
Date of death: February 10, 1917 (cancer)
Buried: Kensal Green Cemetery, London, UK
Waterhouse was one of the great Victorian artists, whose paintings were British neo-classical and Pre-Raphaelite in concept.
His parents, William and Isabela Waterhouse, were both painters and though he was born in Rome, he moved with his family to South Kensington, London, when he was five. Before entering the Royal Academy schools in 1870, he studied painting under his father.
From 1874 until his death, he exhibited at the Royal Academy almost every year. He also exhibited at the Society of British Artists and the Dudley Gallery. As well as painting, he taught at St. John's Wood Art School and served on the Royal Academy Council.
His most famous painting is The Lady of Shalott (1888) (pictured, large canvas print here), inspired by poem by the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson. It is a study of Elaine of Astolat, who dies of grief when Lancelot will not love her. Oil on canvas, it measures 153 x 200 cm. This is a painting that has to be seen to truly comprehend its power and its mythical beauty. It can be found at Tate Britain, London.
John William Waterhouse ~ Trivia
The La Belle Dame sans Merci, 1893, oil on canvas, 110.5 x 81cm, is housed at Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt.
Lady of Shalott vies with Millais's Orphelia for the honour of being the best selling postcard published by the Tate Gallery.
Hylas and the Nymphs, 1896, oil on canvas, 97 x 160cm, is housed at Manchester City Art Gallery.
Waterhouse exhibited his Diploma painting The Mermaid at the Royal Academy in 1901.
A Mermaid, 1901, oil on canvas, 98 x 67cm, is housed at the Royal Academy.
The Siren recalls Matthew Arnold's poem The Forsaken Mermaid in that we see the mermaid gazing sadly at a drowning sailor as she draws him to his doom.
Further Reading: Victorian Painting [Book, 2003]
J.W. Waterhouse: Biography >> Trivia >> Gallery >> Hylas & Nymphs Canvas Print >> A Mermaid Canvas Print >> Orphelia Canvas Print >> Windswept Canvas Print >> Prints >> The Women of Waterhouse - 24 Art Cards >> J.W. Waterhouse Fine Art prints are available at Allposters.com >> Advertise >> J.W. Waterhouse Books and Dvds available @ amazon.com