WILLIAM SHAYER (Snr.)
An oil on panel painting by William Shayer Senior (1787-1879) depicting a gypsy encampment by a track.
Please see our other listings for a companion painting by the same artist if you would like a pair.
Beautifully painted and with great attention to detail. Please note that this painting is by William Shayer Senior, whose paintings are far more valuable than those by his son William. Some examples of recent sales are included at the end of the photos.
Frame: Set in the original stunning ornately carved wooden gilt swept frame.
Signature: Lower right.
Provenance: Berwick House, Shropshire.
Condition: Painting and frame are both in excellent condition.
Measurements: Painting measures 50 x 40cm and the overall frame 76 x 66cm.
Biography: 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.
He lived mainly in the south of England, in Shirley, Southampton, but painted throughout Hampshire and the New Forest. Michael Hoy, a wealthy Southampton merchant, was one of his most enthusiastic patrons and bought many of Shayer’s paintings of the area.
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. 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.
William 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 (i.e., spreading a thin, oily, transparent layer of paint over a dry opaque paint). He exhibited at the Royal Academy (6 works), the British Institution (82 works), and at the Suffolk Street Gallery of the Society of British Artists (338 works). He also exhibited in many of the lesser-known Victorian art venues as well. His works are on display at many museums including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tate Gallery, the Glasgow Art Gallery, and the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.
William Shayer, senior died at the age of 92 on 21 December 1879 at his home at Bladon Lodge near Southampton.