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John William Waterhouse

Written by Brett Nelson

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Posted on October 23 2019

He was a painter, born in the 19th century widely known for using the Pre-Raphaelite style of painting. He was born in Rome in the year 1849, the exact date of his birth is not known but many historians claim that it was around the early dates of January. In records, many write that he was born on the 6th of April, but that was the actual date of his baptism, being that he was a Catholic. He was born to William and Isabella Waterhouse, both of whom were painters and part of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. He continued with his work of painting even after the breakup of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in the mid-19th century. He did not solely use the Pre-Raphaelite style but he also borrowed a lot from the Roman mythology and the Arthurian legend to bring out interesting pieces. Later, in 1871 he moved to London where he enrolled in Royal Academy. He made pieces which were both exhibited in Dudley Gallery and Society of British Artists. He managed to give an annual exhibition of his pieces as from 1890 until 1916. Some of his exhibited work during that period was like, ‘Sleep and his half-brother death’ and ‘the lady of Shallot’ (a famous piece). In 1883, he got married to Esther Kenworthy who was equally a painter, they had two kids both of whom died in their childhood. He continued at the Royal Academy and was declared an academician in the year 1895, then he continued to teach St. John’s Wood Art School. One of his painting called ‘A Mermaid’ was to be exhibited but because it was not completed on time, it was not exhibited, it got lost until the 20th century where it was displayed in Lord Lloyd Webber collection.

He loved Ophelia, but he never completed it because he had cancer back in 1915, two years later, he succumbed and was buried at the Kensal Green Cemetery.

View JOHN WILLIAM WATERHOUSE Gallery