HAVELL, William

1782 - 1857

William Havell

Born in Reading, Berkshire on 9 February 1782 but not baptised until 17 October 1787, one of the many children of Luke Havell (1752-1810), a drawing master and shopkeeper, and his wife Charlotte née Phillips (1759-1825), who married at St Lawrence Parish, Reading on 19 February 1778. Educated at Reading Grammar School, where his father taught art, but was mostly a self-taught landscape painter. He made his first sketching tours in Wales and the Wye Valley 1802-1803 when he met his future artist friends, the Varleys and Cristalls and in 1804 sent his first exhibit to the Royal Academy 'A View of Carnarvon Castle; and the following year was a founder member of the Old Society of Painters in Watercolours from which he left but continued to exhibit and at the Royal Academy. He then went to Ambleside, in the Lake District 1807-1809 where he produced many fine works. In 1812 he visited Hastings, Sussex and in 1816 Havell was appointed draughtsman with Lord Amherst's Embassy to China and after visiting Madeira, Rio de Janeiro, the Cape and Java it not sure that he reached China, although he made some paintings, left his post and in 1817 travelled overland for Calcutta where he remained until 1825, finding employment in painting portraits and landscapes. On his return in 1827 he rejoined the Watercolour Society, but ceased to contribute to their exhibitions and took to painting in oils. In 1827 he travelled to Italy with Thomas Uwins (17821857), visiting Florence, Rome and Naples. Havell's best landscapes are of his native Reading and the Thames Valley but during his Italian stay he broadened his subject manner to include such things a peasants bringing in the grape harvest. A frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy and at the British Institution and exhibited at the Suffolk Fine Art Association [q.v.] at the New Lecture Rooms, Ipswich in 1850 'Mountain Scene. The Sun Dispersing the Mist'. Owing to the failure an Indian bank he became a pensioner on the Royal Academy's Turner Fund. He died at Kensington, London on 16 December 1857.

Works by This Painter