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Watts, Walter Henry (DNB00)


WATTS, WALTER HENRY (1776–1842), journalist and miniature-painter, born in the East Indies in 1776, was the son of a captain in the royal navy. He was sent to England at an early age and placed at school in Cheshire. He possessed talent as an artist, and devoted some time to the study of drawing and painting. In 1808 he was a member of the Society of Associated Artists in Watercolours. He obtained some renown as a miniature-painter, and from 1808 to 1830 exhibited miniatures at the Royal Academy. In 1816 he was appointed miniature-painter to the Princess Charlotte. Not being able for some time to realise a sufficient income from painting, he obtained employment as a parliamentary reporter on the staff of the ‘Morning Post’ in 1803. About 1813 he joined the ‘Morning Chronicle’ in the same capacity. In 1826 he undertook to manage the reporting department of the ‘Representative,’ but, returning to the ‘Morning Chronicle’ in the following year, he continued to act as a parliamentary reporter till 1840. During this time he also contributed criticisms on matters connected with the fine arts to the ‘Literary Gazette,’ and edited the ‘Annual Biography and Obituary’ from its commencement in 1817 until 1831. Watts died at his lodgings at Earl's Court Terrace, Old Brompton, on 4 Jan. 1842. Jerdan states that Watts wrote several independent works, among others a replication of Martin Archer Shee's ‘Rhymes in Art,’ but that they were nearly all published anonymously.

[Dodd's Annual Biography, 1842, p. 457; Gent. Mag. 1842, i. 223; Morning Chronicle, 8 Jan. 1842; Jerdan's Autobiography, 1853, iii. 283, iv. 118–27.]

E. I. C.