1902 Encyclopedia > William Collins

William Collins
Irish painter

WILLIAM COLLINS, (1787-1847), painter, was the son of an Irish picture dealer and man of letters, the author of a Life of George Morland, and was born in London. HP studied under Ettyin 1807, and in 1809 exhibited his first pictures of repute—Boys at Breakfast, and Boys with a Bird's Nest. In 1815 he was made associate of the Royal Academy, and was elected RA. in 1820. For the next sixteen years he was a constant exhibitor; his fishermen, shrimp-catchers, boats and nets, stretches of coast and sand, and, above all, his rustic children were universally popular. Then, however, he went abroad on the advice of Wilkie, and for two years (1837-1838) studied the life, manners, and scenery of Italy. In 1839 he exhibited the first fruits of this journey; and in 1840, in which year he was ap-pointed librarian to the Academy, he made his first appear-ance as a painter of history. In 1842 he returned to his early manner and choice of subject, and during the last years of life enjoyed greater popularity than ever. As a painter Collins is entitled to high praise. He was a good colourist and an excellent draughtsman ; he was also con-scientious exceedingly, and an ardent lover and student of nature. His earlier pictures are deficient in breadth and force,—are feeble, in fact, from excess of care and finish ; but his later work, though also carefully executed, is rich in effects of tone and in broadly painted masses. His biography, Life of William Collins, R.A,, 2 vols., by his son Wilkie Collins, the well-known novelist, appeared in 1848.

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