Willis, Henry Brittan (DNB00)

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WILLIS, HENRY BRITTAN (1810–1884), painter, was born in 1810 at Bristol, the son of a drawing-master in that city. He practised for a time in Bristol with little success, and then went to the United States, but after a brief stay was compelled by ill-health to return. In 1843 he settled in London, and gained a considerable reputation as a painter of cattle and landscapes. He frequently exhibited at the Royal Academy, British Institution, and Suffolk Street Gallery from 1844 to 1862, and from 1851 to 1857 was a member of the ‘Free Exhibitions’ Society. In 1862 he was elected an associate of the ‘Old Watercolour’ Society, and thenceforth was a constant contributor to its exhibitions; in 1863 he became a full member. Willis painted in an attractive manner various picturesque localities in Great Britain, introducing finely composed groups of cattle. His ‘Highland Cattle,’ painted in 1866, was acquired by Queen Victoria, and his ‘Ben Cruachan Cattle coming South’ was at the Paris Exhibition of 1867. Four of his compositions were engraved in the ‘Art Union Annual,’ 1847. He died at Kensington on 17 Jan. 1884, and was buried in the cemetery at Hanwell.

[Roget's Hist. of the ‘Old Watercolour’ Soc.; Athenæum, 1884; Bryan's Dict. of Painters and Engravers, ed. Armstrong.]

F. M. O'D.