Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lizars, William Home

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LIZARS, WILLIAM HOME (1788–1859), painter and engraver, son of Daniel Lizars, and brother of John Lizars [q. v.], was born at Edinburgh in 1788, and was educated at the high school there. His father was a publisher and an engraver of some merit, who had been a pupil of Andrew Bell (1726–1809) [q. v.], and engraved many portraits as book illustrations. Lizars was first apprenticed to his father, from whom he learnt engraving, and then entered as a student under John Graham (1754–1817) [q. v.] in the Trustees' Academy at Edinburgh, where he was a fellow-student with Sir David Wilkie. From 1808 to 1815 he was a frequent exhibitor of portraits, or of sacred and domestic subjects, at exhibitions in Edinburgh. In 1812 he sent two pictures to the Royal Academy in London, ‘Reading the Will’ and ‘A Scotch Wedding.’ They were much admired, were hung on the line, and were engraved. They are now in the National Gallery of Scotland at Edinburgh. In 1812, on the death of his father, Lizars was compelled to carry on the business of engraving and copperplate printing in order to support his mother and family. He engraved ‘The Ommeganck at Antwerp,’ after G. Wappers, for the ‘Royal Gallery of Art,’ and ‘Puck and the Fairies,’ after R. Dadd. He also engraved numerous plates of Scottish scenery for various publications, and the ‘Anatomical Plates’ of 1822 for his brother. Lizars perfected a method of etching which performed all the functions of wood-engraving in connection with the illustration of books. He died in Edinburgh on 30 March 1859, leaving a widow and family. Lizars took an active part in the foundation of the Royal Scottish Academy, and two pictures of churches by him are in the Academy's collection. There is a pencil drawing by him, done in 1815, of John Flaxman, R.A. [q. v.], in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery at Edinburgh.

[Edinburgh Ann. Reg. 1816, p. cccclxxx; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Cat. of the Royal Scottish Academy; information from J. M. Gray, esq.]

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