WATERHOUSE, John William
(b. 1849, Roma, d. 1917, London)
English painter. His father was a minor English painter working in Rome. Waterhouse entered the Royal Academy Schools in London in 1870. He exhibited at the Society of British Artists from 1872 and at the Royal Academy from 1874. From 1877 to the 1880s he regularly travelled abroad, particularly to Italy. In the early 1870s he had produced a few uncharacteristic Orientalist 'keepsake' paintings, but most of his works in this period are scenes from ancient history or classical genre subjects, similar to the work of Lawrence Alma-Tadema (e.g. Consulting the Oracle, c. 1882; London, Tate). However, Waterhouse consistently painted on a larger scale than Alma-Tadema. His brushwork is bolder, his sunlight casts harsher shadows and his history paintings are more dramatic.
In 1883 he married Esther Kenworthy, the daughter of an art schoolmaster from Ealing who had exhibited her own flower-paintings at the Royal Academy and elsewhere. They did not have any children. In 1895 Waterhouse was elected to the status of full Academician. He taught at the St. John's Wood Art School, joined the St John's Wood Arts Club, and served on the Royal Academy Council.
He was known for working in the Pre-Raphaelite style. He worked several decades after the breakup of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which had seen its heyday in the mid-nineteenth century, leading him to have gained the moniker of "the modern Pre-Raphaelite". Borrowing stylistic influences not only from the earlier Pre-Raphaelites but also from his contemporaries, the Impressionists, his artworks were known for their depictions of women from both ancient Greek mythology and Arthurian legend. One of Waterhouse's most famous paintings is The Lady of Shalott.