William Dyce

Scottish painter (1806 - 1864) and designer

William Dyce was educated at the Marischal College. Initially, an Episcopalian, he became a devout High Churchman and also developed a broad and cultivated interest in the arts and sciences. Initially self-taught as an artist, after brief probationership at the Royal Academy Schools, he went to to Rome in 1825 and again in 1827. He initially studied Titian, Poussin and Raphael, and at an early date met Overbeck and the German Nazarenes at Rome, whose work in fresco showed a similar deep religious attitude to his, as modern followers of the Renaissance. At Edinburgh in the 1830's he gained a reputation for spirited portraits and attempted history painting. He was elected ARSA in 1835. He became a spokesman on industrial design and was appointed Superintendant of the Government Schools of Design from 1838 to 1843. His expert knowledge of fresco led to his patronage by the Prince Consort and his early commission for frescoes for the new Houses of Parliament in 1845. He was elected ARA in 1844, Royal Academician in 1847. On the hanging committee when Millais' 'Isabella' and Homan Hunt's 'Rienzi' when they were hung as pendants in1849, he initiated Ruskin's critical attention. In the later 1850's Dyce returned to easel painting and again concerned himself with outdoor naturalism using now a Pre-Raphaelite technique and displaying a passion for natural detail, admired by Ruskin. He became an honorary member of the Hogarth Club in 1859. His use of landscape can be seen as expressive of the immensity of geological time and the isolation of man, and links his scientific and artistic interests with his religious beliefs. Dyce died in London in 1864 following periods of illness preventing the completion of his frescoes on Arthurian themes.
  • Gender
    Male
  • Relationship
    Previous owner
  • Nationality
    British: Scottish
  • Born
    1806-09-19
  • Place of birth
    Europe: Northern Europe: UK: Scotland: Aberdeenshire: Aberdeen
  • Died
    1864-02-15
  • Place of death
    Europe: Northern Europe: UK: England: London: Lambeth: Streatham
  • Cause of death
    Unknown or unrecorded
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