William Callow

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For the American jurist, see William G. Callow.
William Callow
Born 28 July 1812
Died 1908
Nationality English
Known for landscape, watercolour, engraving
A Gondola on the Grand Canal, Venice, by William Callow.

William Callow (1812–1908) was an English landscape painter, engraver and water colourist.


Callow was born in Greenwich on 28 July 1812.[1] He was apprenticed to the artist Copley Fielding, where he learnt the technique of plein air sketching.[2] He went on to study under Theodore and Thales Fielding, where he learnt to colour prints and make aquatints,[3] and was taught water colour painting between 1825-7.[3]

In 1829 Thales Fielding found him work as an engraver in Paris, where he worked alongside his friend Charles Bentley. While in the French capital he was encouraged by Thomas Shotter Boys to take up watercolours again.[3] After exhibiting a watercolour of Richmond Hill in the Paris salon of 1831, he was offered a job teaching the family of King Louis Philippe I of France, and for several years gave lessons to the Duc de Nemours and Princess Clémentine,[1] while his own works rapidly gained popularity in England.[3]

Elected a member of the Old Water-Colour Society, Callow returned to London in 1841 and began to paint larger pictures, moving away from the more "dashing" style of his earlier smaller works.[4] He travelled extensively in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Italy,[5] had a large number of pupils, and enjoyed favour with the royal family.[1]

He kept detailed diaries of his early travels, and just before his death, his sight having failed, he dictated an autobiography.[6]

In 1855 he moved to Great Missenden, in Buckinghamshire, where he died in 1908.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Mr. William Callow". The Times. 24 Feb 1908. p. 7. 
  2. ^ Hargraves, p.184; Macfall, p.63.
  3. ^ a b c d Hargraves, p.184.
  4. ^ Hargraves, p.184; Macfall, p.64.
  5. ^ Macfall, p.64.
  6. ^ Cundall, H.M. (1908). William Callow, R. W. S., F. R. G. S.. A&C Black. pp. vi. 


  • Hargreaves, Matthew, 2007, Great British Watercolors: from the Paul Mellon collection, Yale University Press, Yale.
  • Macfall, Haldane, 2004, A History of Painting: The Modern Genius Part Eight, Kessinger Publishing.

Further reading[edit]

  • Callow, William, 1908, William Callow RWS FRGS - An Autobiography, Adam and Charles Black, London.
  • Reynolds, Jan, 1980, William Callow R.W.S., B.T. Batsford Ltd, London.