William Shayer

British, (1787-1879)
Fisher Folk on the Beach
Oil on canvas, signed & dated 1839

A wonderful marine painting of fisher folk on a beach by William Shayer. A woman and child can be seen next to a basket and the day’s catch, whilst a dog lies sleeping. An older man is shown standing to the right beside a younger man with a donkey. Beyond the group lies a harbour and ships.

William Shayer was a landscape painter born in Southampton in 1787 to Joseph Shayer and Elizabeth Shayer (née Ayling). Although little is known about his early life and education he was largely self-taught and initially found work as a furniture artist painting designs on chairs. He later painted heraldic designs for a coaching firm in Guildford.

He married Sarah Lewis Earle on 13 September, 1810 at Chichester in Sussex. Together, they lived in Southampton and had 5 children. Their eldest child William Joseph Shayer Jnr (1811-1892) became an artist. By 1820, Shayer was supporting his family as a full time artist specialising in rustic landscape paintings featuring figures and animals. During this year he also began exhibiting at the Royal Academy.

After the death of his first wife, he married Elizabeth Waller on 29 April, 1824 at St James, Piccadilly. He had a further 5 children including Henry Thring Shayer (1825-1894) and Charles Waller Shayer (1827-1914) who were also landscape artists. It is highly likely he taught all of his sons to paint as their styles are similar and they would often work with him in his studio, sometimes collaborating with him on his works.

As well as exhibiting at the Royal Academy, he also exhibited at the British Institution from 1827 and at the Society of British Artists where he later became a member. Shayer spent most of his life in the Southampton area but would frequently travel around the country to paint. He was highly skilled at painting figures and many of his works fall more into the genre category for this reason. From 1844, he lived at Bladon Lodge, Millbrook near Southampton where he remained for the rest of his life. He died on 21 December 1879, at Bladon Lodge.

Examples of his work can be found in numerous public collections including the Bristol Museum, Burton Art Gallery, Glasgow Museum, Hastings Museum, Leicester Museum, Museum of Gloucester, National Trust, Nottingham City Museum, Shipley Art Gallery, Southampton City Art Gallery, The Tate, University of Cambridge, V&A, Walker Art Gallery, The Wilson and Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

Presentation The painting is housed in a new, English made gilt frame which is in excellent condition.
Condition As with all of our original antique oil paintings, this work is offered in ready to hang gallery condition, having just been professionally cleaned, restored and revarnished.
Image size 27.25 inches x 35.25 inches (69.5cm x 89.5cm)
Framed size 37.25 inches x 45.25 inches (94.5cm x 115cm)