1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Collins, William (painter)

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COLLINS, WILLIAM (1787–1847), English painter, son of an Irish picture dealer and man of letters, the author of a Life of George Morland, was born in London. He studied under Etty in 1807, and in 1809 exhibited his first pictures of repute—“Boys at Breakfast,” and “Boys with a Bird’s Nest.” In 1815 he was made associate of the Royal Academy, and was elected R. A. in 1820. For the next sixteen years he was a constant exhibitor; his fishermen, shrimp-catchers, boats and nets, stretches of coast and sand, and, above all, his rustic children were universally popular. Then, however, he went abroad on the advice of Wilkie, and for two years (1837–1838) studied the life, manners and scenery of Italy. In 1839 he exhibited the first fruits of this journey; and in 1840, in which year he was appointed librarian to the Academy, he made his first appearance as a painter of history. In 1842 he returned to his early manner and choice of subject, and during the last years of life enjoyed greater popularity than ever. Collins was a good colourist and an excellent draughtsman. His earlier pictures are deficient in breadth and force, but his later work, though also carefully executed, is rich in effects of tone and in broadly painted masses. His biography by his son, W. Wilkie Collins, the novelist, appeared in 1848.