SYMONDS, William Robert

1851 - 1934

William Robert Symonds - self-portrait

William Robert Symonds was born at Yoxford, Suffolk on 25 February 1851, eldest child of Nathaniel William Symonds (1822-30 July 1872), a draper, and his wife Susannah née Cotton (1830-1896), who married at Yoxford in 1849. About 1860 when Nathaniel was a boot and shoemaker, the family moved to 37 Tavern Street, Ipswich followed by 20 Fore Street then at 7 Princes Street where Nathaniel was declared insolvent in 1865. In 1871 they were living at 17 Cobbold Street, Ipswich where Nathaniel was a ‘woollen draper’. Young William was educated at a private school in Ipswich and in 1867, 16-year-old W. R. Symonds of Ipswich, exhibited crayon drawings at the Needham Market Fine Arts & Industrial Exhibition, held in the Lecture Room at Needham Market Town Hall, which won a bronze medal. William was an ‘art student’, studying under William Thompson Griffiths at Ipswich School of Art before proceeding to the Royal Academy Schools where, in 1873, awarded the ‘premium for the best drawing from the Antique.’ William then spent several months in Antwerp and on his return to England specialised in portrait painting. In 1875, an artist with a studio at 2 Princes Street, Ipswich, later using one of the Christchurch Park Lodges then in Soane Street, and in 1881 was living at Ringham Road, Ipswich, where his widowed mother acted as his housekeeper. A member of the Ipswich Fine Art Club 1876-1934, being elected president in 1889, and he undertook several mayoral portraits in Ipswich and two of his oils 'Girl with Silver Fish' and 'The Princess and the Frog' were on display at their 1974 centenary exhibition. In 1881 he exhibited at Ipswich, a portrait of Sterling Westhorp and exhibited in 1882 from his studio at Holland Park Road, Kensington but 1883-1885, when living at The Mount, Ringham Road, Ipswich, exhibited from his studio in Soane Street, Ipswich in 1883, four portraits in oil 'Mrs Cheston', 'Portrait', 'Jim, grandson of Sir James Anderson', 'Daniel Lister' and a drawing 'Portrait Study' and was a regular exhibitor, his last was in 1933 from 17 Upper Cheyne Row, Chelsea, London 'Study of an Old Woman's Head'. He also exhibited at the Woodbridge Art Exhibition in 1889 at the Assembly Room, Bull Hotel, Woodbridge a portrait, 'Mr G. M. Sexton' and from his London studio he exhibited at Birmingham Royal Society of Artists; Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts; the Walker Art Gallery; Manchester City Art Gallery; New Gallery; the Royal Academy; Grosvenor Gallery; Royal Institute of Oil Painters; Royal Society of Portrait Painters, of which he was a member, and the Paris Salon between 1851 and 1934. He married by special license at 4 Sunmount, Cork in Ireland on 17 April 1886, Margaret Hogg Swan (1858-1937), second daughter of the late Robert Weymss Swan of Cork and they had a son Robert Weymss Symonds (31 December 1889–5 September 1958), when Robert's address was The Studio, Holland Park Road, Kensington. In 1901 they were living at Cornwall Lodge, 2 Rowan Road, Brook Green, Hammersmith. William Robert Symonds died at 17 Upper Cheyne Row, Chelsea on 7 November 1934. His portraits are in the Wallace Collection, Army Medical School, Queen's College, Belfast, Ipswich Museums, Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley; Oriel College, Magdalen College and Pembroke College, Oxford. He signed his works 'W. R. Symonds' underlined or 'W. R. S.'.

Royal Academy Exhibits
from 21 Fore Street, Ipswich
1876 206 Portrait of a Little Girl
1877 306 Portrait
1879 1046 Nellie
from Soane Street, Ipswich
1880 388 Winifred, daughter of Frederick Fish, Esq., of Ipswich
         591 At the Market Gate
from The Studios, Holland Park Road, Kensington
1881 37 Sterling Westhorp, Esq.
         316 Henry John des Voeux, grandson of John Pender, Esq., M.P.
         577 Robert Lacy Everett
1882 169 Mrs Daniel Lister
         277 Lieutenant Frederick Philip Foster Wood...killed in action
         286 Captain Berners, R.N.
         420 Florence, daughter of Thomas Lea, Esq., M.P.
         601 Mrs Miller, Ipswich
1883 151 J. Denison Pender, Esq.
         253 Jim, grandson of Sir James Anderson
         345 Mrs Charles Cheston
         509 Rev. D.P. Chase, D.D., Principal of St Mary Hall
1884 196 Mrs Packard
         284 Mrs Weller-Poley
1886 226 Viscount and Viscountess Sherbrooke
         264 Beatrice and Edmund, youngest children of Henry Brassey, Esq.
1887 255 Mr, Mrs, and Master Holland of Benhall Lodge, Saxmundham
         349 Surgeon General W.C. Maclean, M.D., ...Army Medical School
         489 Portrait of a Lady
1888 257 Sir William Aitken, M.D., F.R.S.
         378 The Ven. Archdeacon Groome
         431 Leonard, youngest son of Alfred Tate, Esq.
         481 Mrs Hutton, St Petersburg
1889 1155 Portrait of an Old Lady
1890 132 Wm. Travers, Esq., M.D.
         610 A Morning Meal
1891 64 Mrs John Cameron Grant
1892 577 Mrs T. P. Borrett
from Cornwall Lodge, Rowan Road, Brook Green, West London
1893 307 Kittens
1895 70 Mrs Patrick Grant
         861 Family Cares
1896 317 Esme and Stella, granddaughters of Jas. T. Chance, Esq.
         598 The Hon. Mrs Kenneth F. Gibbs
1897 652 Maurice, son of J. Richrds Kelly, Esq.
         1014 Oswald, son of Archibald E Scott, Esq.
1899 917 Sylvia and Dorothy, daughters of W Peart Robinson, Esq.
         918 Harry and Alick, sons of Henry Cubitt, M.P.
1900 667 Children of J. Binney, Esq.
1901 883 Charlie, son of F. Shaw, Esq.
         895 Babes in the Wood
1902 548 Marjorie, daughter of Thomas B Borrett, Esq.
         788 Surgeon-General Jameson, C.B.
1903 336 Mrs Caleb Rose
         727 Hugh and Rowland, sons of the Hon. Henry Cubitt, M.P.
1904 316 Heather
         492 Hugh and Eustace, sons of G.F. Chance, Esq.
1905 740 Clarice, daughter of James H. Edwards, Esq.
         808 Genesta, daughter of Cuthbert E. Heath, Esq.
1906 247 Sheltering from the Storm
         505 Arthur Ross, Esq.
         813 Evelyn
1907 47 The New Doll
         327 Mrs Arthur Ross
1908 352 Archie and Guy, sons of the Hon. Henry Cubitt
         961 The Hon Mrs Cubitt
1909 84 Hugh, son of Thos. Meadows Clutterbuck, Esq.
         188 Louse, daughter of the Hon William Vanneck
1910 407 Beryl, daughter of Frank Yardley, Esq.
         647 Anthony, son of Kenneth Crossley, Esq.
1911 55 Marjorie, daughter of Chas. F Pilcher, Esq.
         740 Miss Edith Bancroft
1913 172 Lady Crossley and her daughter Fidelia
         303 The Hon Ralph Beaumont, son of Viscount Allendale
         485 Ruth, daughter of Sir Kenneth Crossley, Bt.
1914 72 The Minuet
         589 Cuthbert, son of Colonel C E Goulburn, D.S.O.
1915 144 Friday
1916 513 Mrs Harry Wrightson
1917 367 Doreen, daughter of Lieut. Col. George A. Gibbs, M.P.
         753 Merial, daughter of Major Darymple White
1918 28 The Baroness Beaumont and her son, the Hon Fitzalan Howard
         280 Mrs Quinton Dick
1919 314 Molly and Betty, daughters of Reginald Moncton, Esq.
1925 96 Jack, son of Francis A. Lauder, Esq.
1926 219 Pamela, daughter of Herbert Finnegan, Esq.

Works by This Artist