Abingdon from the Thames Navigation
Coloured engravingpublished 1 January 1805
- About the work
About the artist
William Turner’s father died when he was an infant and in 1803 he went to live with a wealthy uncle at Shipton-on-Cherwell, Woodstock. He studied drawing under William Delamotte, before becoming a pupil of John Varley in London. Aged 18, he was elected the youngest ever member of the Royal Watercolour Society. In 1812, he returned to Oxford and began teaching. He travelled extensively to the Lake District, Wales, the Peak District, Clifton Gorge and the Wye, later exploring the New Forest and the South Downs. In 1838, he made his longest sketching tour through Scotland. His reputation was as a provincial painter. However, he was praised by Ruskin for his ‘quiet, simple earnestness, and tender feeling’. He died in Oxford at the age of 72.
William Byrne made etchings and engravings of landscapes after contemporary artists. At 22 he won a premium of 25 guineas from the Society of Arts. From 1769 to 1772 he worked for Johann Georg Wille in Paris. After returning to the UK he became a prosperous engraver and publisher. He exhibited from 1766 to 1780 and was elected a fellow of the Incorporated Society of Artists. With watercolourist Thomas Hearne he produced the series of engravings for ‘The Antiquities of Great Britain’ (1778-06). Among his pupils were Samuel Middiman and Johann Gottlieb Schumann. Byrne married twice and had five children, all of whom became painters and / or engravers. Byrne died suddenly at his home in Titchfield Street, Westminster, at about the age of 62.