John William Waterhouse 1849 – 1917

Waterhouse is an English painter who was born in Rome in 1849 to English parents who were also painters. He embraced the Pre-Raphaelite style (which has been like an epiphany for me) painting women from Greek Mythology and legendary Arthurian figures.

He enrolled in the Royal Academy of Art when he moved to London. Painting figures on large canvases from the likes of Shakespeare, Keats and Tennyson. He obviously gained much inspiration from the authors as he painted The Lady of Shalott – from a Tennyson poem 1832 – 3 times, as he did Ophelia. I gain great inspiration from Waterhouse!

As with his Pre-Raphaelite contemporaries, his use of colour, composition and detail of the human form are exquisite! His haunting paintings of women are often set amongst nature, flowers and water, where the likes of Ophelia ultimately met her untimely end. Maybe he was fascinated with the poetic tragedy? He was certainly inspired by it and the fantasy of nymphs, mermaids & sorceress.

Like Waterhouse, I am always inspired my the mythical and magical femme. Mermaids, nymphs, sirens, the femme fatale in particular are some of my favourites and I have a number of large scale pieces planned. My hope is to also capture the essence of these fragile beauties in my own way while taking my inspiration by the likes of John Waterhouse.

Some of my favourite paintings by Waterhouse are attached below and not all the victims are female haha. Have to love the lust of man being lured by nymphs to their death!

Hylas and the Nymphs 1896

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