HAVELL, William

1782 - 1857

William Havell

William Havell, was 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 Church, Reading on 19 February 1778. Educated at Reading Grammar School, where his father taught art, but was mostly a self-taught landscape painter. William made his first sketching tours in Wales and the Wye Valley 1802-1803, when he met his future artist friends, the Varleys and Cristalls. 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 resigned but continued to exhibit and at the Royal Academy. He then went to live at Ambleside, in the Lake District 1807-1809 where he produced many fine works. 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 certain that he reached China, although he made some paintings. Leaving this position, in 1817 he travelled overland to Calcutta where he remained until 1825, finding employment in painting portraits and landscapes. On his return to England, in 1827 he rejoined the Watercolour Society, but did not exhibit in 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 his 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 Artist