William Joseph Shayer England
3-1787 - 12-21-1879 Southampton, ENGBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
William Joseph Shayer, senior was a self-taught artist, who began by painting decorations on rush-bottom chairs, and moved on to painting carriages in the town of Guildford, after which he started doing heraldic painting. Ultimately he began painting oil on canvas and became skilled at portraying woodland scenes with gypsies, people and animals in front of country inns and farm houses, and beach scenes crowded with boats and fishermen.
William Joseph Shayer sometimes collaborated with other artists. Particularly successful were his collaborations with Edward Charles Williams, where Williams would paint the landscape and Shayer would add in people and animals. He also collaborated with other members of Williams' family, Shayer's second wife Elizabeth Waller said to somehow be related to Williams.
Shayer lived a long life, during which he had two wives and ten children. His eldest son, William Joseph Shayer, junior (1811-1892) was also a painter, and painted in a style very similar to his father. Their paintings are easily confused, which is made all the more difficult by the fact that they probably collaborated on several paintings in the elder Shayer's later years. Three of Shayer senior's younger sons – Edward Dasherwood Shayer (1821-1864), Henry Thring Shayer (1825-1894) and Charles Walker Shayer (1826-1914) – became painters at well, and all assisted him at times in his studio.
William Joseph Shayer senior was a competent landscape artist, but he is best known as a figure painter. His work is reminiscent in some respects to the paintings of George Morland, another very popular figure painter. Shayer's work though has a depth and brightness to it missing from the paintings of many of his contemporaries, due to his skillful application of glaze spreading a thin, oily, transparent layer of paint over a dry opaque paint.
Art Movement: Victorian Classicism