Artist profile: John William Waterhouse – 1870s

Every month, I profile an artist who inspires my own art, in several segments.

John William Waterhouse (1849-1917) was born in Rome, Italy and went by “Nino”. His parents, William and Isabella, were English artists. He grew up helping in his parents’ studio, so it’s no surprise he became an artist. Waterhouse studied painting at the Royal Academy beginning in 1871; a good twenty-five years later, he would become an Academician there. He also taught at St. John’s Wood Art School and was a member of the Royal Academy Council.

Waterhouse had a quiet life. He married another artist, Esther Kenworthy. The couple may have had two children, but they did not survive to adulthood.

Waterhouse is said to be a Pre-Raphaelite painter (about 20 years after it was popular), but he comes across as more Classical to me, especially when he paints scenes from Roman and Greek myth.

My articles this month will go by decade. Today I present a few paintings Waterhouse made in the 1870s.
Sleep and his Half-brother Death (1874)
Waterhouse’s two younger brothers died from tuberculosis that year. It was his first painting to be exhibited at the Royal Academy.
In the Peristyle (1874)
Miranda (1874)
Miranda from The Tempest. Waterhouse painted a much more exciting image in 1916, which you’ll see at the end of the month.
Portrait of a Young Woman (1875-78)
This painting has a cool story: it was discovered in 1998 on The Antiques Roadshow.

Other parts in the John William Waterhouse artist profile series



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