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William Arthur Breakspeare RBA RBSA ROI (1856-1914)

William Arthur Breakspeare, RBA RBSA ROI (1856-1914)

William Breakspeare was a prolific artist working in both oil and watercolour. Though he is remembered for eighteenth-century genre, his subjects were greatly varied, including scenes from literature and classical history. He was a talented draughtsman and painter with a meticulous attention to accuracy that led to a highly-finished style. The sophistication of his later work suggests Pre-Raphaelite and Continental and influences, and attest to his skill and versatility.

William Breakspeare was born in Edgbaston, Birmingham, on 19 January 1856, the second son, and second of five children, of John Breakspeare and his wife, Emma (née Hawkes). John Breakspeare was employed as a flower painter in the Birmingham japanning trade, which, locally, had risen rapidly to the height of its success by the mid nineteenth century.

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