Keeling, William Knight (DNB00)

KEELING, WILLIAM KNIGHT (1807–1886), artist, born in Cooper Street, Manchester, in 1807, was apprenticed to a wood-engraver of that town, and showed great aptitude for that art, but at an early age he went to London to become an assistant to William Bradley [q. v.] the portrait-painter, and helped Bradley not only in painting but in engraving portraits of some of his more celebrated sitters. About 1835 he returned to Manchester, practised as a painter of portraits and figure-subjects in oil and water-colour, and gave lessons in drawing. He made some excellent drawings from ‘Gil Blas,’ a few of which were engraved in Heath's ‘Annual.’ Many of his earlier works, especially his illustrations to Sir Walter Scott and other authors, were much in the manner of his friend Henry Liverseege [q. v.] In the exhibition of the Royal Manchester Institution, 1831, he was represented by an illustration to Scott's novel ‘The Betrothed,’ and he long continued a regular exhibitor both at the annual and occasional exhibitions. He was awarded the Heywood silver medal by the institution in 1833 for an oil painting, ‘The Bird's-nest.’

He was a member of the original Manchester Academy, and took a prominent part in the foundation of the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts, of which he was president from 1864 to 1877. To their exhibitions he regularly contributed figure-subjects and portraits till 1883. He was elected an associate of the New Society of Painters in Water-colour in 1840, and a full member in 1841. Most of his best work in water-colour was shown in their exhibitions. He also exhibited once at the Royal Academy, and once at the British Institute. His exhibited pictures included ‘Gurth and Wamba’ (in 1832), ‘Touchstone, Audrey, and William,’ ‘The Interdicted Letter,’ ‘Gil Blas' Adventure with the Parasite,’ and several portraits. He was a successful teacher, and among his pupils was Mr. T. Oldham Barlow, R.A. Keeling died at his residence, Barton-upon-Irwell, near Manchester, on 21 Feb. 1886.

[Manchester Guardian, 24 Feb. 1886; Graves's Dict. of Artists; private information.]

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