William Woollett was the son of an innkeeper, from Maidstone, Kent. In 1750 he was apprenticed to John Tinney at the Goldsmith’s Company. By 1759, he was studying at St Martin’s Lane Academy. Three years later he married Hannah but, after their five children died in infancy, Hannah also died in 1770. Woollett was later remarried to Elizabeth. His earliest prints are of country houses and gardens, after his own designs. He was first employed by John Boydell in 1760. His engraving after Richard Wilson’s ‘The Destruction of the Children of Niobe’ won him considerable critical acclaim and, as a result, Alan Ramsay invited him to engrave his portrait of George III. Woollett reportedly died ‘from the effect of an accident, unskilfully treated’.
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