HEMSLEY, William

c.1817 - 1906

William Hemsley, was born at Westminster, London about 1817, son of William Whitfield Hemsley (12 September 1796-1867), an architect, and his wife Caroline Amelia née Jones (1797-1872). Educated at a preparatory school in Brighton and, as a teenager, developed an interest in art through painting portraits. Returning to London from Brighton, he began to train in his father's profession and found employment as a drawing clerk in the office of architect John Crake (c.1811-1859) but left early in his career in order to paint professionally. An artist specialising in genre paintings living most of his life in London, although he travelled throughout Germany and Holland. In 1841, living at Camera Square, Chelsea and by 1851, a 32 year old 'artist in painting', living at Marlborough Street, Chelsea, London with his 30 year old wife Arabella née Barnard (27 March 1821-1876), who was born at Berrow, Somerset and their two children, 3 year old Cornelius Henry and 1 year old Alice Lucy, both born at Chelsea. In 1861 they were living at 13 Hereford Square, Kensington with a further son and daughter, and after his wife's death in 1876 they were living at Ashburnham House, 499 Kings Road, Chelsea. Many of his works depicted rustic domestic scenes, leading to him being described as 'pre-eminently the painter of cottage life'. Hemsley began to exhibit at artistic societies and was elected to the Society of British Artists (later the Royal Society of British Artists) in 1859 and was later a Vice-President. He also exhibited at the Royal Academy; Liverpool Walker Art Gallery; Manchester City Art Gallery and at the Suffolk Fine Art Association [q.v.] held at Ipswich in 1850 'Sunday Morning'. Various dates have been given for his death but in 1891, he was a 73 year old artist in oil & watercolour, living at Bexley House, Queens Road, Wimbledon, Kingston, Surrey with his 36 year old son Walter and his family, and where he died on the 24 November 1906, aged 89, and was buried in Old Brompton Cemetery, Chelsea.

Works by This Artist