Westall, William (1781–1850)

Painter and engraver, whose works played an important role in the shaping of Romantic ideas of the landscape. He was the half brother of the academician Richard Westall (1765–1836; DNB). In 1801 he was appointed as the landscape draughtsman for the voyage to New Holland and the South Seas commanded by Matthew Flinders. His travels eventually also took him to Canton and Bombay. He arrived back in England in 1805 and was elected a Fellow of the Linnean Society later that year. He held exhibitions of his foreign views in 1808 and 1809. In 1811 he became a full member of the Society of Painters in Water Colours, contributing to their exhibitions of 1811 and 1812. In 1814 Flinders’s A Voyage to Terra Australis contained 37 illustrations by Westall. He had a nervous breakdown in 1815. With the help of Sir George Beaumont, he became a regular visitor to the Lakes, where he met Southey and Wordsworth, who both admired his work. Westall and Southey corresponded and the latter contributed an introduction to the former’s Views of the Lake and Vale of Keswick (1820). This described Westall as ‘by far the most faithful delineator of the scenery of the Lakes’.

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