William Watson Jnr

British, (1847-1921)
Up Glen Goil, West Highlands
Oil on canvas, signed & dated 1892, further inscribed verso

This highly atmospheric and well executed painting by William Watson Jnr depicts Highland Cattle watering at Glen Goil. Glen Goil is a valley area of Argyll and Bute in the West Highlands. It is situated at the junction of Hell’s Glen and Gleann Mor and has the river Goil flowing through. Located around 2 miles from Lochgoilhead, it is well known as an area of outstanding natural beauty. Watson made several trips to the Highlands and produced a number of paintings of the locality, many of which included highland cattle such as this fine example. Another painting by him of Glen Goil is held by the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

William Watson was born in Islington in 1847, the son of the London miniature painter William John Watson (1810-1871) and his wife Caroline (née Butcher). His brothers Charles Watson (1837-1900) and Robert Watson (1855-1921) were also artists. His father seems to have travelled around and after spending time in Brighton, the family moved to Bransford Road in Worcester during the early part of the 1860’s.

As well as being taught by his father, Watson received his early training in the studio of Sir Francis Grant PRA (1803-1878). He later became a pupil of Sir Edwin Henry Landseer RA (1802-1873) and Rosa Bonheur (1822–1899). Both Landseer and Bonheur had a great influence on his work and he began specialising in scenes of cattle and sheep. By 1866 he had become a full time artist and began exhibiting at the Royal Society of British Artists.

Perhaps to take advantage of the inspiring scenery, Watson moved to Birkenhead, Cheshire where in 1871 he met and married Eleanor Davies who was from Caernarvonshire. Four of their children Sidney Watson (1881-1931), Caroline Ellen Watson (1871-1947), William Robert Charles Watson (1873-1928) and Walter James Watson (1877-1963) also became artists. Shortly after moving to the Birkenhead area, he made his debut at the Royal Academy in 1872.

The family initially lived in Seacombe, Birkenhead where the first of their children were born but by 1879 they had moved to the outskirts of Liverpool to Maghull. They later returned to the Birkenhead area living at 9 Lorne Road, Tranmere. Watson seems to have enjoyed a close relationship with his family as they all lived and worked together until around 1901 when his sons William and Walter moved away and the rest of the family relocated to 5 Slatey Road, Birkenhead. Towards the end of his life Watson moved to Wales where he lived at Hillside, Capel Garmon, Llanrwst in Denbighshire. He died at Capel Garmon on 26 March, 1921.

Watson’s scenes were mainly of the north of England, Wales and the Highlands and often featured cattle or sheep perched along stepped hillsides. He painted with consummate skill and his works are highly collectible. Many of his paintings were sold in America. Examples of his works can be found in the Atkinson Gallery, Sheffield Museum, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and the Williamson Art Gallery.

© Benton Fine Art

Presentation The work is housed in its original gilt frame which is in excellent condition. The stretcher bears an old label for T. Richardson (see image). Thomas Richardson (b.1841) was a fine art dealer and frame maker who worked out of 174 New Bond Street, London from 1879-1894. He founded Thomas Richardson & Co and also had premises at 43 Piccadilly from 1886 until around 1905. A number of exhibitions were held at the Piccadilly gallery.
Condition As with all of our original antique oil paintings, this work is offered in ready to hang gallery condition, having been professionally cleaned, restored and revarnished.
Image Size 23.5 inches x 35.5 inches (60cm x 90cm)
Framed Size 36.25 inches x 48.25 inches (92cm x 122.5cm)