John Waterhouse.


Artists We Admire.

John William Waterhouse was born in Rome to William and Isabella Waterhouse,his parents, were both artists, lived in Italy for some years. At the age of 5years old Waterhouse and his parents moved back to England. Waterhouse’s early studies were supervised by his father at his studio in South Kensington London, he then at the Royal Academy School of Art from 1870.

His early classical paintings were much influenced by the highly successful classist artists Sir Alma Tadema and Sir Frederick Leighton,he also produced lighter pictures from sketches and memory of 19th century Italian life. These paintings were exhibited at the Royal Academy,the Society of British Artists and Dudley Gallery in the West Midlands England.
At the age of 25, Waterhouse submitted the classical allegory “Sleep and His Half-Brother Death” to the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition. The painting was well received by the critics, leading him to exhibit at the Royal Academy’s shows almost every year thereafter until his death in 1917……

In 1883 Waterhouse married Esther Kenworthy the daughter of an art schoolmaster from Ealing and Waterhouse and his new wife took up residence at the Primrose Hill Studios. By 1891 Waterhouse had discovered his most famous and beautiful model, Muriel Foster, she can be seen thereafter in all his most important paintings, she is the one with the cute little turned up nose, indisputably classical female beauty in any age. waterhouse_windflowers

In 1895 Waterhouse was at the height of his fame and was elected to the status of full Academician. He taught at the St. John’s Wood Art School he joined the St John’s Wood Arts Club, and served on the Royal Academy Council. Combined with his many commissions from prominent collectors and minor European aristocracy he was a very busy and increasingly important contemporary artist being compared to the famed Burne-Jones and Sir Frederick Leighton.

Despite suffering from poor health and frailty, during the final decade of his life, Waterhouse continued painting until he died of cancer in 1917.

From 1908-1914 he painted a series of paintings based upon the Persephone legend. They were followed by paintings based on literature and mythology. One of his final works was The Enchanted Garden, left unfinished at his death. It shows his favorite model, of course, Muriel Foster. One of his other favorite Edwardian models was Mary Lloyd, who sat for Lord Leighton’s famous and exquisitely beautiful painting “Flaming June”. Waterhouse and his wife Esther did not have any children although it is thought that they may have lost a child to early mortality. Esther Waterhouse survived her husband by 27 years, passing away in 1944 .John Waterhouse, half a generation later than the other classicists, continued well into the twentieth century, and had a great influence on younger artists; these include artists such as Frank Dicksee and Ford Madox Brown. Waterhouse-jason-and-medea

The last resting place for this influential and important English Pre-Raphaelite artist can be found at the famous Kensal Green Cemetery in London, the resting place for so many Victorian and Edwardian intellectual and artistic luminaries.