The best master of the genre of genre in British painting of the 19th century
William Collins is a 19th century British painter, an outstanding master of landscape and household painting. During his career, William Collins also painted a number of paintings of the religious genre, but these works cannot be classified as the best masterpieces of his work. The master’s biography is full of numerous travels to the British Isles and European countries.
William Collins was able to convey his love for art and his children. His eldest son, William Wilkie Collins, was a renowned English writer of many novels and plays, and his youngest son, Charles Allston Collins, was a talented painter with close ties to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
Biography of William Collins
William Collins was born on September 8, 1788 in London, the son of a writer who also made a living from the sale of works of art. His ancestors were Irish on his father’s side, and English on his mother’s side. From childhood, William was fond of drawing, and his parents always encouraged his son’s craving for art. Thanks to his father’s connections, Collins, Jr., while still at school, began taking private lessons from the famous artist George Morland (George Morland).
After receiving a certificate of primary education, William entered the Royal Academy of Arts without any problems in 1807, and in the same year his work was first presented to the general public at an exhibition. After 5 years, he graduated with honors from a prestigious educational institution and quickly gained fame as a talented young artist. Collins managed to profitably sell several of his paintings and find influential patrons.
But significant successes in his professional career were overshadowed by the death of his father in 1812, after which the painter had to financially help his mother for many years, who had lost all sources of income. Fortunately, the artist’s works were in demand among the public, and one of his paintings was even acquired by the British crown prince – the future King George IV (George IV).
In 1815, William Collins made his first trip outside London, visiting several small towns on the coast of east England, and two years later he visited Paris, where he painted several paintings. Upon his return from France, the master decided to try his hand at the portrait genre, but soon abandoned this idea and returned to everyday themes and landscapes.
In 1820, William Collins was elected a full member of the Royal Academy of Arts, and two years later he married Harriet Geddes, the sister of the famous portrait painter Margaret Sarah Carpenter. Despite the large number of orders and family concerns, the artist always found time for creative travel. He traveled frequently to England and Scotland, visited Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, and lived in Italy for two years in the mid-1830s.
During his stay on the Apennine Peninsula, influenced by the work of the great masters of the Renaissance, William painted several paintings on biblical themes, but these works were coolly received by the public. But genre works and landscapes consistently brought him good money until his death, remaining the main source of income for the family.
In 1840-42 Collins held the prestigious position of curator of the Royal Academy of Arts library, but soon the artist developed serious health problems and was forced to retire. The master bought a large house in the center of the English capital and moved into it in 1843 with his wife and children, but he did not have long to live. On February 17, 1847, William Collins died of a heart attack surrounded by his loved ones, at that time he was 58 years old.
The most famous paintings by William Collins
The brilliant British artist has written several hundred works of art in his life. And yet, some of the most famous paintings by William Collins include:
- “Selling a Home Lamb” (1813) is one of the best works of the master, created in the early period of creativity. On it, the painter, with amazing accuracy, depicted the moment of the touching farewell of children with a small animal.
- Scene on the Norfolk Coast (1815) is a painting acquired from a young artist by the Crown Prince of Britain. This work, written by Collins after his first trip to the coast of England, is still carefully preserved in the royal collection in London.
- “Happy as a King” (1836) is a work that is filled with fun and joy. On it, the master depicted a bunch of village children in a great mood during carefree games.
- “Early Morning” (1846) is one of the last works of the painter, created just a few months before his death. Unlike most other paintings, this work is painted in gloomy dark colors and makes a slightly depressing impression on the viewer.
William Collins is rightfully considered one of the finest British masters of the 19th century genre. He made a great contribution to the development of European painting and gave his descendants many charming masterpieces that colorfully describe the life of his contemporaries.