Herbert William Weekes

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Herbert William Weekes
Born Herbert William Weekes
ca. 1842
Pimlico, London, England
Died after 1904
Nationality English
Known for genre and animal painting
Movement Victorian Neoclassical

Herbert William Weekes (fl. 1864–1904) was a well-known British genre and animal painter of the Victorian Neoclassical period who specialized in portraying animals in humorous, human-like situations.

Early life and family[edit]

Weekes was born ca. 1842 in Pimlico, London, England[1] to a prominent artistic family: the youngest of five children,[2][3] his father, Henry Weekes, Sr. (1807–1877), was a sculptor and Royal Academician;[4] his brother, Henry, Jr. (fl. 1850–1884), was also a genre painter known for his animal studies;[2][5] and his brother, Frederick (1833–1920), was an artist and expert on medieval costume and design.[6]

Later life and career[edit]

Weekes appears to have used his middle name, William, for all but formal purposes. He lived and worked for most of his life in London, at 21 Oppidans Road, Primrose Hill.[5][7] In 1865, he married artist Caroline Anne Henshaw (born ca. 1844), of Hammersmith.[1][8][9]

A demobilized soldier with a basket of ferns on his back, walking furtively through a hamlet, is chased by a flock of geese while being watch by a family standing outside their cottage.
"Suspicion (ca. 1900)", oil-on-canvas
Adult and baby donkey being addressed by a rooster standing on a wheelbarrow full of hay, with ten hens watching
"Fowl Talk", oil-on-canvas
William Weekes signature
Weekes' signature

Known as an animal and genre painter of the Victorian Neoclassical style, Weekes' work was popular, and helped expand 19th century animal painting from its traditional role of simply recording beasts into a way of reflecting human life.[10][11] He frequently personified animals and placed them in situations particular to humans. His work shows a sensitive understanding of his subject matter, and part of his success in capturing the peaceful country atmosphere depicted in so many of his paintings lay in his affection for it.[12] He was greatly influenced by one of the foremost animal painters of the nineteenth century, Sir Edwin Henry Landseer.[7]

Weekes contributed illustrations for The Illustrated London News in 1883, and exhibited extensively in various London and provincial galleries. His works were well received - although not by everyone: a contemporary wit described his paintings as “Weekes' Weak Squeaks”.[3]

His works were alternatively signed with the initials 'WW' (sometimes overlaid), 'W. Weekes', 'William Weekes', 'Herbert William Weekes', 'H.W. Weekes', 'H. Weekes', and simply 'Weekes'. They were exhibited in a variety of venues from 1864 to 1904, with frequencies as follows:[3]


This is an inexhaustive list of Weekes' paintings, primarily done in oil on canvas:


  1. ^ a b "IGI Individual Record: Herbert Weekes". FamilySearch.org. 14 Oct 1865. Archived from the original on 2011-06-07. Retrieved 29 Jan 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "The Little Calf, Henry Weekes, Jnr., fl: 1850–1884". J. Collins & Son Fine Art. Retrieved 28 Jan 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c "Quiet!, Herbert William Weekes fl: 1864–1904". J. Collins & Son Fine Art. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  4. ^ "Weekes, Henry (English sculptor and teacher, 1807–1877)". Getty Museum. Retrieved 2008-03-17. 
  5. ^ a b "Artist Biography: William Weekes fl. 1864–1904". Burlington Paintings. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  6. ^ "Autumn Exhibition: Frederick Weekes (1833–1920)". Michael Sim. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  7. ^ a b "Two of His Flock". Invaluable.com. Retrieved 29 Jan 2009. 
  8. ^ "FamilySearch International Genealogical Index". FamilySearch.org. 1881. Retrieved 29 Jan 2009. 
  9. ^ "England and Wales Census, 1871", database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VB68-RKR : 24 July 2015), Caroline Weekes in entry for William Weeks, 1871.
  10. ^ "Herbert William Weekes Biography". Haynes Fine Art of Broadway. Archived from the original on 2008-02-16. Retrieved 28 Jan 2009. 
  11. ^ "Herbert William Weekes". Artnet. Retrieved 28 Jan 2009. 
  12. ^ "Suspicion". Cinoa. Retrieved 13 Jul 2009. 

External links[edit]