Walter Howell Deverell

(1 October 1827 - 2 February 1854)

English artist, born in the United States of America, who was associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Deverell was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, into an English family who moved back to Britain when Walter was only two years old. He studied art at the Royal Academy schools, where he met Dante Gabriel Rossetti. He and Rossetti shared a studio in 1851. The Pre-Raphaelites had been founded in 1848, and under Rossetti's influence Deverell's work began to show the influence of the movement, while still retaining features more characteristic of earlier genre painters like Charles Robert Leslie. It was Deverell who "discovered" Elizabeth Siddal, the Pre-Raphaelites' most important early model. However, despite his attraction to her, she later married Rossetti. Rossetti's assistant Henry Treffry Dunn was recommended for the position by Deverell. After the resignation of James Collinson from the PRB, Rossetti proposed that Deverell should replace him, but no decision was ever made.

Deverell completed very few important works, exhibiting only four paintings at the R.A. before his early death from Bright's disease at the age of twenty-seven. He lived in Kew, now part of London, where one of his paintings, 'A Pet,' was done in his house.


English painter, Walter Howell Deverell (b. Charlottesville, VA, 1 October 1827; d. London, 2 February 1854). Although not a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB), he was a close friend of the Pre-Raphaelites and during his short career was greatly influenced by their artistic principles and practices. His father placed him in a solicitor's office in Westminster, London, but he was permitted to give up studying law in favour of painting in 1844. He first trained at Henry Sass's Academy, where he met Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who became his mentor and friend. In 1846 he entered the Royal Academy Schools, where his fellow students included John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt. Deverell was reputedly very popular: William Michael Rossetti recalled that 'If there was one man who, more than others, could be called the "pet" of the whole circle, it was Deverell'.