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

WHITTAKER, JAMES WILLIAM (1828–1876), painter in watercolours, son of John Whittaker, warehouseman, was born at Manchester in 1828, and apprenticed to an engraver for calico printers. He subsequently took up etching, and then painting. On coming into a small fortune he removed about 1858 to Llanrwst, North Wales, where he practised landscape-painting in watercolours. Francis William Topham [q. v.] there made his acquaintance, and, being struck with the ability shown in his work, induced him to become a candidate for the Society of Painters in Watercolours. He was elected an associate on 10 Feb. 1862, and a member on 13 June 1864, and exhibited 191 pictures at the exhibitions of that society, and three works at the Royal Academy. His subjects were chiefly views in the Snowdon district, and many of his sketches, especially those of rough moorland tracts of ground, possessed exceptional power.

He was accidentally drowned in the river Llugwy, near Bettws-y-Coed, on 6 Sept. 1876.

By his wife Sarah, daughter of Joseph Heyes of Manchester (to whom he had been apprenticed), he left four children.

[Roget's ‘Old Watercolour’ Soc. 1891, ii. 411; Stanfield's Cat. of Manchester City Art Gallery, No. 141; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1895; Cat. of the Jubilee Exhibition, Manchester, 1887, Nos. 956 and 972; Times, 15 Sept. 1876; information given by Mr. J. G. Ross, Longsight.]

C. W. S.