John William Waterhouse

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John William Waterhouse
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{{short description|19th and 20th-century English painter}}{{Use dmy dates|date=April 2012}}

| birth_place = Rome, Papal Statesdf=y218496}}| death_place = London, England, United Kingdom| nationality = BritishPre-Raphaelite Brotherhood>Pre-RaphaeliteHylas and the Nymphs (Waterhouse)>Hylas and the Nymphs''The Lady of Shalott (painting)'The Magic Circle (Waterhouse painting)>The Magic Circle'Ophelia''| patrons = | awards = }}John William Waterhouse {{Post-nominals|country=GBR|RA}} (6 April 1849 – 10 February 1917) was an English painter known for working first in the Academic style and for then embracing the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood's style and subject matter. His artworks were known for their depictions of women from both ancient Greek mythology and Arthurian legend.Born in Rome to English parents who were both painters, Waterhouse later moved to London, where he enrolled in the Royal Academy of Art. He soon began exhibiting at their annual summer exhibitions, focusing on the creation of large canvas works depicting scenes from the daily life and mythology of ancient Greece. Many of his paintings are based on authors such as Homer, OvidBOOK,weblink Representações das Metamorphoses de Ovídio em J. W. Waterhouse, Severino, Carlos Mesquita, Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa, 2019, Lisboa, , Shakespeare, Tennyson, or Keats.Waterhouse's work is currently displayed at several major British art galleries, and the Royal Academy of Art organised a major retrospective of his work in 2009.


Early life

Waterhouse was born in the city of Rome to the English painters William and Isabella Waterhouse in 1849, in the same year that the members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt, were first causing a stir in the London art scene.{{sfn|Trippi|2002|p=4}} The exact date of his birth is unknown, though he was baptised on 6 April, and the later scholar of Waterhouse's work, Peter Trippi, believed that he was born between 1 and 23 January.{{sfn|Trippi|2002|p=9}} His early life in Italy has been cited as one of the reasons many of his later paintings were set in ancient Rome or based upon scenes taken from Roman mythology.In 1854, the Waterhouses returned to England and moved to a newly built house in South Kensington, London, which was near to the newly founded Victoria and Albert Museum. Waterhouse, or 'Nino' as he was nicknamed, coming from an artistic family, was encouraged to become involved in drawing, and often sketched artworks that he found in the British Museum and the National Gallery.{{sfn|Trippi|2002|p=14}} In 1871 he entered the Royal Academy of Art school, initially to study sculpture, before moving on to painting.

Early career

Waterhouse's early works were not Pre-Raphaelite in nature, but were of classical themes in the spirit of Alma-Tadema and Frederic Leighton. These early works were exhibited at the Dudley Gallery, and the Society of British Artists, and in 1874 his painting Sleep and his Half-brother Death was exhibited at the Royal Academy summer exhibition.Trippi, Peter; Prettejohn, Elizabeth; Upstone, Robert. J.M. Waterhouse: The Modern Pre-Raphaelite Gallery Guide. The Royal Academy of Art. 2009. The painting was a success and Waterhouse would exhibit at the annual exhibition every year until 1916, with the exception of 1890 and 1915. He then went from strength to strength in the London art scene, his 1876 piece After the Dance being given the prime position in that year's summer exhibition. Perhaps due to his success, his paintings typically became larger and larger in size.

Later career

In 1883 he married Esther Kenworthy, the daughter of an art schoolmaster from Ealing who had exhibited her own flower-paintings at the Royal Academy and elsewhere. In 1895 Waterhouse was elected to the status of full Academician. He taught at the St. John's Wood Art School, joined the St John's Wood Arts Club, and served on the Royal Academy Council.
missing image!
- Waterhouse-sleep and his half-brother death-1874.jpg -
Sleep and his Half-brother Death, 1874
One of Waterhouse's best known subjects is The Lady of Shalott, a study of Elaine of Astolat as depicted in the 1832 poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who dies of a mysterious curse after looking directly at the beautiful Lancelot. He actually painted three different versions of this character, in 1888, 1894, and 1916. Another of Waterhouse's favorite subjects was Ophelia; the most familiar of his paintings of Ophelia depicts her just before her death, putting flowers in her hair as she sits on a tree branch leaning over a lake. Like The Lady of Shalott and other Waterhouse paintings, it deals with a woman dying in or near water. He may also have been inspired by paintings of Ophelia by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett Millais. He submitted his 1888 Ophelia painting in order to receive his diploma from the Royal Academy. (He had originally wanted to submit a painting titled A Mermaid, but it was not completed in time.) After this, the painting was lost until the 20th century. It is now displayed in the collection of Lord Lloyd-Webber. Waterhouse would paint Ophelia again in 1894 and 1909 or 1910, and he planned another painting in the series, called Ophelia in the Churchyard.Waterhouse could not finish the series of Ophelia paintings because he was gravely ill with cancer by 1915. He died two years later, and his grave can be found at Kensal Green Cemetery in London.{{Find a Grave|8041010}}


In total he produced 118 paintings.


Image:Ondine (Waterhouse).jpg|Undine1872Image:Gone But Not Forgotten - John William Waterhouse.jpg|Gone, But Not Forgotten1873Image:John William Waterhouse- The Unwelcome Companion - a Street Scene in Cairo.JPG|The Unwelcome Companion--A Street Scene in Cairo1873Image:La Fileuse - John William Waterhouse.jpg|La Fileuse1874Image:Peristyle.jpg|In the Peristyle1874Image:Miranda - John William Waterhouse.jpg|Miranda1875Image:TempleofAesculapiusWaterhouse.jpg|A Sick Child brought into the Temple of Aesculapius1877Image:John William Waterhouse - The Remorse of the Emperor Nero after the Murder of his Mother.JPG|The Remorse of the Emperor Nero after the Murder of his Mother1878


Image:John William Waterhouse - Dolce Far Niente (1880).jpg|Dolce far Niente1880Image:Waterhouse-Diogenes.jpg|Diogenes1882Image:John William Waterhouse - The Favorites of the Emperor Honorius - 1883.jpg|The Favourites of the Emperor Honorius1883Image:John William Waterhouse oracle 1884.png|Consulting the Oracle1884Image:John William Waterhouse - Saint Eulalia - 1885.jpg|Saint Eulalia1885Image:John William Waterhouse - Magic Circle.JPG|The Magic Circle1886Image:John William Waterhouse - The Lady of Shalott - Google Art Project edit.jpg|The Lady of Shalott1888Image:Cleopatra - John William Waterhouse.jpg|Cleopatra1888Image:JWW Ophelia 1889.jpg|Ophelia1889


File:A Roman Offering - JWW.jpg|A Roman Offering1890File:Circe Offering the Cup to Odysseus.jpg|Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses1891File:WATERHOUSE - Ulises y las Sirenas (National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 1891. Óleo sobre lienzo, 100.6 x 202 cm).jpg|Ulysses and the Sirens1891File:JohnWilliamWaterhouse-Danaë(1892).jpg|Danaë1892File:Circe Invidiosa - John William Waterhouse.jpg|Circe Invidiosa1892File:Naiad1.jpg|A Naiad or Hylas with a Nymph1893File:John William Waterhouse - La Belle Dame sans Merci (1893).jpg|La Belle Dame sans Merci1893File:A Female Study - John William Waterhouse.jpg|A Female Study1894File:The Lady of Shallot Looking at Lancelot.jpg|The Lady of Shalott Looking at Lancelot1894File:Ophelia 1894.jpg|Ophelia1894File:John William Waterhouse - The Shrine.JPG|The Shrine1895File:Waterhouse, John William - Saint Cecilia - 1895 .jpg|Saint Cecilia1895File:Pandora - John William Waterhouse.jpg|Pandora1896File:Juliet JWW.jpg|Juliet1898


Image:The Siren.jpg|The Siren c. 1900Image:Destiny - John William Waterhouse.jpg|Destiny1900Image:The Lady Clare.jpg|The Lady Clare1900Image:Nymphs finding the Head of Orpheus.jpg|Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus1900Image:John William Waterhouse A Mermaid.jpg|The Mermaid1901Image:John William Waterhouse - The Crystal Ball.JPG|The Crystal Ball1902Image:John William Waterhouse - The Missal.JPG|The Missal1902Image:Windswept by John William Waterhouse.jpg|Windflowers1902Image:Boreas.jpg|Boreas1903File:John William Waterhouse - Echo and Narcissus - Google Art Project.jpg|Echo and Narcissus1903Image:Psyche-Waterhouse.jpg|Psyche Opening the Golden Box1903Image:Psyche Opening the Door into Cupid's Garden.jpg|Psyche Opening the Door into Cupid's Garden1904Image:Lamia and the Soldier.jpg|Lamia(version 1)1905Image:Jason and Medea - John William Waterhouse.jpg|Jason and Medea1907Image:The Bouquet (study).jpg|The Bouquet(a study)1908Image:Gather Ye Rosebuds - Ophelia.jpg|Gather Ye Rosebuds or Ophelia (a study)circa 1908Image:Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May.jpg|Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May...1908Image:John William Waterhouse - The Soul of the Rose, aka My Sweet Rose.JPG|The Soul of the Rose or My Sweet Rose1908Image:Waterhouse-gather ye rosebuds-1909.jpg|Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May1909Image:Lamia Waterhouse.jpg|Lamia(version 2)1909Image:Thisbe - John William Waterhouse.jpg|Thisbe1909


Image:Ophelia 1910.jpg|Ophelia1910Image:John William Waterhouse - Spring Spreads One Green Lap of Flowers.JPG|Spring Spreads One Green Lap of Flowers1910Image:John William Waterhouse - The Charmer.JPG|The Charmer1911Image:JohnWilliamWaterhouse-PenelopeandtheSuitors(1912).jpg|Penelope and the Suitors1912Image:John William Waterhouse - The Annunciation.JPG|The Annunciation1914Image:John William Waterhouse - Dante and Matilda.jpg|Dante and Matilda (study) (formerly called "Dante and Beatrice")c. 1914-17Image:John William Waterhouse - Matilda (formerly called "Beatrice").jpg|Matilda (study) (formerly called "Beatrice") c. 1915Image:John William Waterhouse - I am half-sick of shadows, said the lady of shalott.JPG|I am Half-Sick of Shadows, said the Lady of Shalott1916Image:Waterhouse decameron.jpg|A Tale from the Decameron1916Image:Miranda - The Tempest JWW.jpg|Miranda -- The Tempest1916Image:John william waterhouse tristan and isolde with the potion.jpg|Tristan and Isolde1916

Hylas and the Nymphs controversy

File:Waterhouse Hylas and the Nymphs Manchester Art Gallery 1896.15.jpg|thumb|right|Hylas and the Nymphs, 1896]]In January 2018, Manchester Art Gallery curator Clare Gannaway removed Waterhouse's 1896 Hylas and the Nymphs from public display, after a decision "taken by gallery staff [along] with artist Sonia Boyce."NEWS, 1 February 2018, Gallery denies censorship after removing Victorian nymphs painting,weblink BBC News, 4 June 2019, The decision, the curator stated, was "influenced by recent movements against the objectification and exploitation of women" such as the MeToo campaign and the Presidents Club controversy. She denied the removal constituted any form of censorship, stating, "we want to see this as the start of a process, not an end point," and providing visitors with Post-It notes to air their views; meantime, postcards of the painting were removed from the gift shop.A "strong backlash" followed the decision. Art historian and author Elizabeth Prettejohn, who had previously curated a Waterhouse exhibition at the Royal Academy, disputed the claims about "public debate", stating that "taking [the painting] off display is killing any kind of debate that you might be able to have." After one week, the Manchester City Council, which runs the gallery, decided the painting should return to the wall. "It's been clear that many people feel very strongly about the issues raised," stated the Council in the announcement.NEWS, Victorian nymphs painting back on display after censorship row,weblink BBC News, 2 February 2018, 4 June 2019,

See also


  • BOOK, Trippi, Peter, Peter Trippi, 2002, J. W. Waterhouse, New York, New York, Phaidon Press, 9780714842325, harv,

Further reading

  • {{citation|last=Baldry|first=A. Lys|authorlink=Alfred Lys Baldry|title=J. W. Waterhouse and his Work|date=January 1895|volume=4|issue=22|pages=103–115|url=;view=1up;seq=119}}
  • BOOK, Bénézit, E, 2006, Waterhouse, John William, Dictionary of Artists, 14, 668–669, Paris, Gründ, harv,
  • {{citation|last=Dorment|first=Richard|title=Waterhouse: The modern Pre-Raphaelite, at the Royal Academy – review|url=|newspaper=The Daily Telegraph|date=29 June 2009}}
  • JOURNAL, Gunzburg, Darrelyn, John William Waterhouse, Beyond the Modern Pre-Raphaelite, The Art Book, 17, 2, 2010, 70–72, 13686267, 10.1111/j.1467-8357.2010.01104.x, harv,
  • BOOK, harv, Hobson, Anthony, The Art and Life of J.W. Waterhouse, RA, 1849-1917,weblink 1980, Rizzoli, 978-0-8478-0324-8,
  • {{citation|last=Moyle|first=Franny|title=Pre-Raphaelite art: the paintings that obsessed the Victorians &91;print version: Sex and death: The paintings that obsessed the Victorians&93;|url=|newspaper=The Daily Telegraph (Review)|date=13 June 2009|pages=R2–R3}}.
  • {{citation|last=Simpson|first=Eileen|title=Pre-Raphaelites for a new generation: Letters, 17 June: Pre-Raphaelite revival|url=|newspaper=The Daily Telegraph|date=17 June 2009}}.

External links

{{Commons and category|John William Waterhouse}} {{John William Waterhouse|state=expanded}}{{Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood}}{{Authority control}}

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