James Ward (artist)

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James Ward
James Ward by James Ward.jpg
Self-portrait by James Ward, 1848.
Born(1769-10-23)October 23, 1769
DiedNovember 17, 1859(1859-11-17) (aged 90)
Nationality English
Known forPainting, Engraving
Movement Landscapes, Romanticism
Awards Royal Academician (R.A.)
Influenced by George Morland, Rubens

James Ward RA (23 October 1769 17 November 1859) was a British painter, particularly of animals, and an engraver.



Self-portrait, 1830 James Ward - Self-Portrait - Google Art Project.jpg
Self-portrait, 1830
James Ward - Venus Rising from her Couch - James Ward - Venus Rising from her Couch - Google Art Project.jpg
James Ward - Venus Rising from her Couch -

Born in London, and younger brother of William Ward the engraver, James Ward was influenced by many people, but his career is conventionally divided into two periods: until 1803, his single greatest influence was his brother in law George Morland; from that time, it was Rubens. From 1810 or so, Ward started to paint horses within landscapes; slightly later, he turned to very large-scale landscapes, of which Gordale Scar (Tate, London), completed in 1814 or 1815 and depicting Gordale Scar (Yorkshire) as an example of the sublime, is considered his masterpiece and a masterpiece of English Romantic painting. [1]

William Ward (engraver) English engraver, born 1766

William Ward, ARA (1766–1826) was an English engraver.

George Morland British artist

George Morland was an English painter. His early work was influenced by Francis Wheatley but after the 1790s he came into his own style. His best compositions focus on rustic scenes: farms and hunting; smugglers and gypsies; and rich, textured landscapes informed by Dutch Golden Age painting.

Peter Paul Rubens Flemish painter

Sir Peter Paul Rubens was a Flemish artist. He is considered the most influential artist of Flemish Baroque tradition. Rubens's highly charged compositions reference erudite aspects of classical and Christian history. His unique and immensely popular Baroque style emphasized movement, color, and sensuality, which followed the immediate, dramatic artistic style promoted in the Counter-Reformation. Rubens specialized in making altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects.

Gordale Scar James Ward - Gordale Scar (A View of Gordale, in the Manor of East Malham in Craven, Yorkshire, the Property of Lord Ribblesdale) - Google Art Project.jpg
Gordale Scar

Ward devoted much of the period 1815-21 to the painting of a gigantic work titled Allegory of Waterloo (now lost); this neither was much praised nor brought in the revenue Ward had hoped for. The experience may have embittered him, and the deaths of his first wife and a daughter were among other tragedies. Like many artists of the time, Ward sought commissions from wealthy gentry of their favorite horses, their favorite hunting dogs or their children. [2]

Allegory of Waterloo painting by James Ward

Allegory of Waterloo, also known as Triumph of the Duke of Wellington or the Triumph of Great Britain after the Battle of Waterloo, was a monumental painting by British artist James Ward, completed in 1821, and now lost.

One such family that Ward painted and drew repeatedly, and whom he counted among his friends, were the Levett family of Wynchnor Park, Staffordshire. One of Ward's best-known portraits was his Theophilus Levett hunting at Wychnor, Staffordshire of 1817. [3] Another was Ward's 1811 painting entitled The Reverend Thomas Levett and his favourite dogs, cock-shooting. Ward also painted a group portrait of three Levett children — John, Theophilus and Frances Levett. [4] (For the Levetts, see link to the Ward exhibit at the Yale Center for British Art.) [5]

Levett family name

Levett is an Anglo-Norman territorial surname deriving from the village of Livet-en-Ouche, now Jonquerets-de-Livet, in Eure, Normandy. Ancestors of the earliest Levett family in England, the de Livets were lords of the village of Livet, and undertenants of the de Ferrers, among the most powerful of William the Conqueror's Norman lords.

Wychnor Hall

Wychnor Hall is Grade II Listed early 18th-century country house near Burton on Trent, Staffordshire, formerly owned by the Levett Family. The hall has been converted to a Country Club.

Staffordshire County of England

Staffordshire is a landlocked county in the West Midlands of England. It borders with Cheshire to the northwest, Derbyshire and Leicestershire to the east, Warwickshire to the southeast, West Midlands and Worcestershire to the south, and Shropshire to the west.


James was the son of James and Rachael Ward. He was first married to Mary Ann Ward (no known relation) in 1794 and after her death to Charlotte Fritche in 1827 (supposedly a relative of his first wife). James and Mary Ann Ward had several children including:

  1. Matilda Louisa Ward, who married the artist John Jackson.
  2. George Raphael Ward, b. 1798, d. 1879 [6]

James Ward was the paternal grandfather of the painter Henrietta Ward and the great-grandfather of Leslie Ward, the Vanity Fair caricaturist. [1]

Henrietta Ward British painter

Henrietta Mary Ada Ward was an English historical and genre painter of the Victorian era and the early twentieth century.

Leslie Ward British cartoonist

Sir Leslie Matthew Ward was a British portrait artist and caricaturist who over four decades painted 1,325 portraits which were regularly published by Vanity Fair, under the pseudonyms "Spy" and "Drawl". The portraits were produced as watercolours and turned into chromolithographs for publication in the magazine. These were then usually reproduced on better paper and sold as prints. Such was his influence in the genre that all Vanity Fair caricatures are sometimes referred to as "Spy cartoons" regardless of who the artist actually was.

In 1830, Ward moved to Cheshunt (Hertfordshire) with his second wife, but he continued to work, particularly on religious themes. A stroke in 1855 ended his work, and he died in poverty. He is buried at Kensal Green Cemetery. [7]

Cheshunt town in Hertfordshire, England

Cheshunt is a town in the Borough of Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, lying entirely within the London Metropolitan Area and Greater London Urban Area. It is 12 miles (19 km) north of central London and has a population of around 52,000 according to the United Kingdom's 2001 Census.

Hertfordshire County of England

Hertfordshire is one of the home counties in southern England. It is bordered by Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to the north, Essex to the east, Greater London to the south, and Buckinghamshire to the west. For government statistical purposes, it is placed in the East of England region.

Kensal Green Cemetery cemetery in Kensal Green, in the west of London, England

Kensal Green Cemetery is a rural cemetery in the Kensal Green area of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London, England. Inspired by Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, it was founded by the barrister George Frederick Carden. The cemetery opened in 1833 and comprises 72 acres of grounds, including two conservation areas, adjoining a canal. The cemetery is home to at least 33 species of bird and other wildlife. This distinctive cemetery has memorials ranging from large mausoleums housing the rich and famous to many distinctive smaller graves and includes special areas dedicated to the very young. It has three chapels, and serves all faiths. It is one of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries in London.


The Deer Stealer The Deer Stealer by James Ward.jpeg
The Deer Stealer

James Ward was one of the outstanding artists of the day, his singular style and great skill set him above most of his contemporaries, markedly influencing the growth of British art. Regarded as one of the great animal painters of his time, James produced history paintings, portraits, landscapes and genre. He started off as an engraver, trained by William, who later engraved much of his work. The partnership of William and James Ward produced the best that English art had to offer, their great technical skill and artistry having led to images that reflect the grace and charm of the era. He was admitted for membership into the Royal Academy in 1811. [8]

An Overshot Mill in Aberdulais, Wales, 1847 An Overshot Mill in Wales (Aberdulais) - James Ward.jpg
An Overshot Mill in Aberdulais, Wales, 1847
Marengo 1824 (Private collection) James Ward - Marengo - WGA25437.jpg
Marengo 1824 (Private collection)
The Levett Children. John, Theophilus and Frances Levett, Wychnor, Staffordshire, November 1811 LevettChildren.jpg
The Levett Children. John, Theophilus and Frances Levett, Wychnor, Staffordshire, November 1811

One of Ward's best-known paintings,The Deer Stealer, was commissioned in 1823 for the sum of 500 guineas by Ward's patron Theophilus Levett. When the work was finished, Levett pronounced himself delighted with the results, and consequently raised the remuneration to 600 guineas. Subsequently, Ward was said to have been offered 1,000 guineas for the painting by 'a nobleman,' which he declined. The painting now hangs at Tate in London. [9]

See also

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  1. 1 2 Chisholm 1911.
  2. The Sporting Magazine, or Monthly Calendar of the Transactions of The Turf and The Chase and Every Other Diversion Interesting to the Man of Pleasure Enterprise & Spirit, Vol. 19, New Series, Printed for J. Pittman, London, 1827. 1827. Retrieved 2012-02-04.
  3. "The New York Times, Grace Glueck, July 30, 2004". New York Times. 2004-07-30. Retrieved 2012-02-04.
  4. "Group Portrait of John, Theophilus and Frances Levett, James Ward, November 1811, Christie's". Christies.com. Retrieved 2012-02-04.
  5. Babbage, F. (1900). Animal Painters of England from the Year 1650, Walter Gilbey, 1900 . Retrieved 2012-02-04.
  6. "Patrick T Nisbett". Familytreemaker.genealogy.com. 1996-08-15. Retrieved 2012-02-04.
  7. Paths of Glory. Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery. 1997. p. 103.
  8. "Art Review: Dashing World of Animals as Regal as Their Owners, Grace Glueck, The New York Times, July 30, 2004". Nytimes.com. 2004-07-30. Retrieved 2012-02-04.
  9. A Great British Collection, sothebys.com [ dead link ]

Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ward, James (painter)"  . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Further reading