Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Callow, John

CALLOW, JOHN (1822–1878), artist, was born in London on 19 July 1822. He was a pupil of his elder brother William, the well-known painter in water colours, who took him with him to Paris in 1835, where he remained studying art for several years. In 1844 he returned to England to exercise his profession as a landscape painter in water colours, and a few years later was elected a member of the New Water-Colour Society. From this society he afterwards retired to be elected into the older Society of Painters in Water Colours. In July 1855 he was appointed professor of drawing in the Royal Military Academy at Addiscombe. After holding this appointment for six years, he gave it up, and got in its place the post of sub-professor of drawing at Woolwich. Some years later he retired from his professorship, receiving a sum of money as compensation in lieu of a retiring allowance. From the date of his retirement he was constantly occupied in painting for the exhibitions, and in teaching. As a teacher he was in great request, and taught in several schools, besides having many private pupils. He married in 1864, and died of consumption at Lewisham on 25 April 1878, leaving a widow and one son. Callow's style of painting was formed on that of his master and elder brother, William, though he devoted himself to a different range of subjects. He excelled in sea-pieces more than in landscapes. The compulsory devotion of his time chiefly to teaching impeded the development of his own powers, so that his later productions never fulfilled the promise of some of his earlier works. He painted diligently, however, and exhibited at the yearly exhibition of the Old Water-Colour Society. His style of teaching was excellent, at once simple, lucid, and logical, and he always maintained the superiority of transparent over body colour. He left a great number of studies prepared for the use of his pupils, which were sold by auction after his death. Several of these have since been printed in colours as a series of progressive lessons in the art of water-colour painting.

[Information from Mr. William Callow.]

M. M'A.