Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Blacklock, William James

BLACKLOCK, WILLIAM JAMES (1815?–1858), landscape painter, was born at Cumwhitton, near Carlisle, about 1815, and as a youth was apprenticed to a bookseller of Carlisle. He had always been remarkable for his love of drawing, and so strong did this predilection become that he determined to adopt art as a profession, and accordingly proceeded to London, where he at once began to exercise his talent. In the year 1836 he sent his first pictures to the Royal Academy and continued to exhibit there, as well as at the British Institution and Society of British Artists, until 1855, in which year he contributed to the Royal Academy exhibition four pictures: ‘Hermitage Castle,' ‘The Border Keep,’ ‘Elter Water, and the Langdale Pikes,' and ‘Belted Will’s Tower, Naworth Castle.' He resided principally in London for about fifteen years, when declining health compelled him to return to his native county, where he continued to follow his profession until within a year or two of his decease, when the malady with which he was afflicted obliged him to relinquish its pursuit. He died at Dumfries on 12 March 1858, at the age of 42, and was buried at Cumwhitton. His works are principally views of the landscape scenery of the north of England, and their chief characteristics are picturesqueness and truthfulness. Lonely border towers, deeply embosomed in waving foliage, and bathing in the light of a golden sunset; remote and almost inaccessible tarns, surrounded by rough mountains, upon whose sides the shadows of the light clouds danced merrily; brawling brooks with overhanging rocks and waving trees were the scenes which he admired and loved to paint.

[Carlisle Journal, 19 March 1858; Royal Academy Exhibition Catalogues, 1836-56; Art Journal, 1858, p. 157; Athenæum, 1858, p. 439.]

R. E. G.