William Shayer Senior and Edward Williams "The Skittles Players"

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About William Shayer Senior and Edward Williams "The Skittles Players"

Well known English painters.

“The Skittles Players” c.1857

Oil on canvas, signed on the lower right, wrapped in the gilded wooden frame. 32” x 39”, overall size is 42” x 49”.

William Shayer (1787 - 1879) Born in Southampton in 1787, Shayer’s initial training as a coach painter provided him with a thorough technical grounding, however he was basically a self taught artist. His work falls into two distinct categories, firstly, woodland or country scenes with gypsies, rustic figures and animals; secondly, beach or coastal with boats and fisher folk . Shayer often repeated certain constructional formulae so his pictures often had a similar feel to them. He sometimes collaborated with other artists. Particularly successful were his collaborations with Edward Charles Williams, where Williams would paint the landscape and Shayer would add in people and animals. He also collaborated with other members of Williams' family, Shayer's second wife Elizabeth Waller said to somehow be related to Williams.

Shayer also used skillful glazing techniques, which give his works great depth and luminosity. His work typifies English rural life in the first half of the 19th Century and frequently depicts Hampshire and the New Forest. Shayer was prolific through necessity, having 10 children before he was fully established as an artist. His sons William Joseph & Edward Dashwood became artists, as did Shayer’s two sons by his second wife Elizabeth; Henry Thring & Charles Waller. He exhibited at the Royal Society of British Artists, at the Royal Academ and at the Suffolk Street Gallery of the Society of British Artists. He also exhibited in many of the lesser-known Victorian art venues as well. His works are on display at many museums including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tate Gallery, the Glasgow Art Gallery, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and in many provincial museums.

Edward Williams (1807 - 1881) probably began his art career making picture frames, but he was surrounded by relatives who were well-known painters and engravers, and over the years he reinvented himself as a painter. He started by painting miniatures, and copying Baroque landscapes from the 1600s in the style of the Dutch painters Ruisdael (1628-1682) and Hobbema (1638-1709) - the former known for woodland scenes with detailed renderings of trees, particularly the leaves, and water scenes with small boats moored beneath windmills; the latter known for his densely foliated trees with stippled leaves.
As Edward Williams developed his own style, he moved on to contemporary landscapes of the English countryside that, not surprisingly, hint of some of the work of his uncle George Morland. However, he became best known for moonlit scenes of boats and windmills along the Thames River, which earned him the epithet with the public of "Moonlight Williams", or simply the "moonlight painter". He rarely signed his work, perhaps but one painting in a hundred, and when he did he signed simply as E.Wms. As a consequence, the work of Old Williams can be difficult at times to distinguish from that of his son Edward Charles Williams, who painted in a similar style and signed his paintings E. Williams. His works could be viewed at the Anglesey Abbey, Lode near Cambridge, England, Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds, England,Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Nottingham, England, Tate Gallery, London, England, Temple Newsam House, Leeds, England, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England, York Art Gallery, York, England.

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