Open main menu


SALTER, WILLIAM (1804–1875), painter, son of William and Sarah Salter, was born at Honiton, Devonshire, and baptised there on 26 Dec. 1804. He removed to London in 1822, and became a pupil of James Northcote, R.A. [q. v.], with whom he remained until 1827. He then went to reside at Florence, where in 1831 he exhibited a picture of ‘Socrates before the Judges of the Areopagos,’ which was much admired, and led to his election as a member of the Florence academy. After visiting Rome and working for a time at Parma, where also he was elected into the academy, Salter returned to England in 1833. Soon afterwards he undertook the work by which he is now remembered, and upon which he was engaged for six years, ‘The Waterloo Banquet at Apsley House.’ This picture, containing faithful portraits of the Duke of Wellington and all his most distinguished companions in arms, eighty-three figures in all, was exhibited in 1841 by F. G. Moon, the publisher, at his gallery in Threadneedle street, and excited intense interest and admiration; a large engraving from it by Greatbach, published by Moon in 1846, also became very popular. In 1852 a proposal was made to purchase the picture by subscription and present it to the Duke of Wellington, but the project was not carried out, presumably being frustrated by the duke's death; the work is now in the possession of Mr. William Mackenzie of Fawley Court, Henley-on-Thames. Salter painted many religious, mythological, and historical subjects, exhibiting chiefly at the British Institution and with the Society of British Artists, of which body he became a member in 1846 and later a vice-president. His portraits are numerous and of good quality; those of the Duke of Wellington, Wilberforce, Sir A. Dickson, and others have been engraved. In 1838 Salter presented an altarpiece of the ‘Descent from the Cross’ to the new parish church of his native town. He died at Devon Lodge, West Kensington, on 22 Dec. 1875; at the time of his death he was a corresponding member of the council of the Parma academy.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Ottley's Dict. of Artists; Athenæum, 1841; Art Union, 1841, p. 91; Art Journal, 1876; Pycroft's Art in Devonshire; information from the Rev. H. J. Fortescue.]

F. M. O'D.