William Snelling Hadaway

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William Snelling Hadaway (1872–1941) was an American artist who worked in Madras, India. He specialized in book illustration and in jewelry and metal design.[1] He trained in Massachusetts in the 1890s "at the Museum of Fine Arts, under C. Howard Walker and Miss Elizabeth Child."[2] He belonged to the Boston Art Students' Association.[3] After school "he spent two years studying in Sicily and Italy."[2][4] Beginning in 1907 he worked in India for the Madras School of Arts; he stayed until 1927.[1][5] He developed an expertise in Indian visual arts and published several works on the subject. His papers reside in the Victoria and Albert Museum.[1]


William Snelling Hadaway was born in Malden, Massachusetts in 1872, son of Ephraim Locke Hadaway (1848–1914) and Helen Agnes Noyes Hadaway (1848–1935). He told his younger daughter that his first job was in a hardware shop where he "learnt the flashpoints of oils".

In 1893, aged 21, he married Julia Peck (1864–1937), and applied on 30 December 1893 in New York for a passport for himself and wife. They left for Italy on 4 January 1894. On 22 December 1894 he applied for an emergency passport in the US Embassy in Rome, in joint names, saying he was temporarily residing in Naples. He then returned to the US on this passport, without Julia, on 26 June 1895. Julia is listed as returning to New York on 2 September 1895 aboard the "Werra" from Verona. They divorced shortly afterwards.

Julia subsequently pursued a career as an artist under the name Julia Peck Hadaway. She is listed in the 1910 Census as living in Suffolk, Mass., divorced, aged 46. She specialised in Italian and local scenes; a Venetian canal scene (oil on canvas, 20 ½ x 11 ½ ) was for sale in 1992 in the Barridoff Galleries, Portland, Maine. She died suddenly, in Italy, in 1937.

On his return William enrolled in art school in New York where he met Jean Louise Carré (1865–1939), who had arrived in New York from Nova Scotia in September 1894 describing herself as a "tourist". She was French Canadian, her father had originally come from Guernsey, her mother had died in childbirth (hers) and her father 2 ½ years later. She was brought up by an uncle and his family in Pictou, Nova Scotia, and had an uncle in Guernsey.

They left the US together in October 1897, travelling to London as man and wife on the passport originally intended for Julia (fortunately the names were similar). They married 1904, in St Pancras, when their first two children (Jean Carré, known as Jack, 1898-c.1955, and Lesley Anne, 1899-1985) were aged 6 and 5. Their third child Hilary Stella Mary Snelling was born in 1905 and died in 1995.

William forged a highly successful artistic career in London, working as a designer, silversmith and teacher. Jean was also a jeweller and drawer of fashion designs, and sometimes they worked together. They moved to Bushey in 1902 or 3 where William studied with Hubert von Herkomer.

In 1907 William was offered the post of Superintendent of the Madras Government School of Arts, which he held to 1927. Under his regime the students made jewellery, furniture and other artefacts. William also wrote monographs on cotton printing in the Madras presidency and Indian metalwork, copies of which may be found in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

An insight into his character is to be found in an anecdote told in The Hindu of May 6, 2009. Sculptor Mani Nagappa is talking about his father Rao Bahadur M.S. Nagappa's life. His father became William Hadaway's assistant at the School after an unconventional job interview. As Mani Nagappa tells it: "It was mid-term at the Madras School of Arts when my father MS Nagappa wanted to join the institution as a student. The watchman would not let him in. My father hung around and drew a picture of the watchman, when he was sound asleep. When the principal Hadaway was leaving in his car, my father threw the sheet in. The Britisher [sic] was impressed with the sketch and appointed my father his assistant".

When an unidentified epidemic involving swelling broke out in Madras in the early 1900s the British government asked Hadaway to commission a painting of a victim to assist with diagnosis. Hadaway gave Nagappa the job, and he did a painting based on a cast of a dead victim. The painting was apparently of use to the medical team back in London.

They stayed in India until 1934, when they returned to the UK via New Zealand. They retired to Roquebrun on the French Riviera. Jean died in 1939; William visited the USA that year for the first time in 42 years. He died in 1941, trapped in Vichy France by the war.


  1. ^ a b c Guide to the Archive of Art and Design, Victoria & Albert Museum. Taylor & Francis, 2001
  2. ^ a b "William S. Hadaway." Bradley His Book, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Jan., 1897)
  3. ^ Boston art guide and artists' directory., Boston: Wheat Pub. Co., 1893 
  4. ^ After returning from his European travels, Hadaway briefly kept a studio on School Street in Boston. (Bradley His Book Vol.2, No.3,, 1897)
  5. ^ C. Hayavando Rao (1915), The Indian biographical dictionary (The Indian biographical dictionary. ed.), Madras: Pillar, OCLC 8733882 


Further reading[edit]

By Hadaway[edit]

  • "Theory and Practice of Decoration." Art Interchange, Nov. 1894.
  • Aldrich, Thomas Bailey (1896), Friar Jerome's beautiful book, with decorations by W.S. Hadaway, [Boston: Houghton, Mifflin] 
  • Opals. 1907
  • Monograph on tinsel and wire in the Madras Presidency. 1909
  • "Some Hindu 'Silpa' Shastras In Their Relation To South Indian Sculpture," Ostasiatische Zeitschrift vol. 3 (1914–15)
  • Cotton Painting and Printing in the Madras Presidency. London: 1917.
  • Illustrations of Metal Work in Brass and Copper, mostly south Indian. 1923

About Hadaway[edit]

  • Catalogue of an exhibition of silver-work and jewellery by Mr. and Mrs. W.S. Hadaway. London: Bruton Galleries, [1905?]

External links[edit]