William Westall and the Lake Country

By Westall, Richard J. | Wordsworth Circle, Spring 2011 | Go to article overview

William Westall and the Lake Country


Westall, Richard J., Wordsworth Circle


In 1820, a volume of beautiful aquatint Views of the Lake and of the Vale, of Keswick wan published, with an introduction by Southey. The artist, William Westall, had been Southey's friend for several years; he was also a favourite of the Wordsworth circle at Rydal for his illustrations of Lakeland scenery, which, along with the watercolours of Constable and Turner, and the aquatints of William Green, represented the region in new, Romantic, terms.

Who was William Westall and how did he come to be the friend and trusted artist of Southey and Wordsworth? He was born in Hertford on October 12, 1781, the son of Benjamin Westall and his second wife. In 1794, Benjamin died and William's half-brother Richard, who was sixteen years older, became his de. facto father (see ODNB www.westallart.blogspot.co.uk). Richard Westall, who became an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1792, and a Royal Academician in 1794, found fame in the fashionable art world. William showed early artistic promise and, recognising this talent, Richard taught him before he entered the Royal Academy as a probationer in 1799.

The following year William was offered the position of landscape artist for a voyage to Australia on the recommendation of the President of the Royal Academy, Benjamin West. The voyage, under the captaincy of Matthew Finders, completed the first known circumnavigation of Australia and William executed some eighty drawings of the country and its peoples. In 1803, on the way home, William associated with an employee of Sir Joseph Banks, David Lance, while visiting China and stayed a few months whilst busily sketching. Then with the help of the East India Company, William travelled on to India. He returned to Britain in 1805; in 1810 and 1812, his oil paintings based on his Australian sketches were displayed at the Royal Academy where they "attracted great attention" (Westall, Robert 104-5). William was then elected an Associate of the Royal Academy. In 1814, Flinders' account of the expedition, A Voyage to Terra Australis, was published, including nine engravings after William's drawings and twenty-eight of his coastal views in the accompanying atlas (Westall, Richard J. 449). William was now established as an up and coming topographical artist.

According to his son Robert, it was in 1811, that William "paid his first visit to the Lake country ... and was so much charmed with the beauty of the Northern scenery that he resided at Keswick or the neighbourhood during part of every winter until 1820 and afterwards frequently visited it" (Westall, Robert 104-5). It may have been through Sir George and Lady Beaumont, keen amateur artists and patrons of art, who were great admirers of Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey, that Westall gained his introduction to the Lake poets. During the winters of 1813 and 1814, he visited the Beaumonts at their Coleorton estate in Leicestershire. In summer 1816, he was in the Lakes with the Beaumonts: Southey writing "[t]he Beaumonts are here, and Rogers is here,--and the Lord knows whose family are coming. Here is Glover in town; and the younger Westall" (Southey 1856, 3: 33). Henry Crabb Robinson noted the visit in his diary in September 1816: "We spent an agreeable evening with Southey, Mr Nash, Mr Westall Jun, several ladies, Miss Barker, Mrs Southey, Mrs Coleridge, and Mrs Lovell, were of the party" (Crabb Robinson 2: 21). In April, 1817, Joseph Farington reported that "Wm Westall told me that he passed the whole of last summer at the Lakes, & had now an apartment at Grassmere, and it was his intention to reside at Keswick" (Farington 14: 4999).

Westall's northern summer was fruitful for his art. In 1818, twelve of his engravings after his own designs were published by John Murray as Views of the Caves Near Ingleton in Yorkshire (Westall, Richard J., 1986: 449). The book was well received in the Wordsworth household: Mary Wordsworth wrote to her sister Sara Hutchinson in December, 1818, about the "Yorkshire Caves by Westall" (Wordsworth, Mary 41). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

William Westall and the Lake Country
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.