Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Anderson, William (1757-1837)

ANDERSON, WILLIAM (1757–1837), marine painter, exhibited at the Academy between 1787 and 1814. He was born in Scotland and brought up as a shipwright. His works, usually of small size, show a seaman's knowledge, and his drawing is correct and careful in all that concerns shipping. His water-colour paintings are pleasing, and have an interest for those concerned in the development of the art, but are not otherwise noteworthy. He painted on one occasion the interior of Westminster Abbey, and some landscapes, but his subjects are most often river scenes ‘neatly painted, low and agreeable in colour.’ In the print room at the British Museum is a large water-colour drawing, dated 1791, excellently representative of the painter. Five ‘views of the battle of the Nile’ were engraved in aquatint by William Ellis (1800) after drawings by Anderson. At South Kensington there are two good examples of his work. His later work shows some advance upon his earlier, which was rather like tinted drawing than true water-colour painting.

[Redgrave, Dictionary of Painters; Nagler, Künstler-Lexicon, ed. 1872.]

E. R.