View of Liverpool
- About the work
About the artist
The printmaker, William Ellis, was the son of an engraver of writing, Joseph Ellis (died 1793). William was born in London and apprenticed to his father’s stationary company from about the age of 13. He later worked in the studio of the printmaker William Woollett (1735–1785). In 1785 he married Elizabeth Smith, also a printmaker, who may have been related to fellow pupil of Woollett, Samuel Smith (c.1809-1879). The couple frequently worked on projects together, including Aiken’s ‘Description of the Country… Round Manchester’. Elizabeth Ellis had already died when William passed away in 1810. An engraving ‘by the late Mr William Ellis’, showing a view of Exeter, was published to raise money for the couple’s five orphaned children.
Edward Dayes was born in London and apprenticed to mezzotinter and painter William Pether. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1786. During his early career he worked as a miniaturist, later concentrating on the topographical landscapes in watercolour for which he is best-known. Thomas Girtin was a pupil of Dayes’ until an argument between the two seems to have led to Girtin’s imprisonment. Although not a pupil, J. M. W. Turner also studied Dayes’s work and some watercolours by Turner from the 1790s are virtually indistinguishable from those of Dayes. Towards the end of his career, Dayes began working in oils with less success. He was known as a difficult character with a fiery temper and committed suicide in London in 1804.