Keeley Halswelle

(23 April 1832 - 11 April 1891)

The son of David Halswelle, he was born at Richmond, Surrey. At an early age he contributed drawings to the Illustrated London News, and took up book illustration. Work for the Illustrated Shakespeare of Robert Chambers took him to Edinburgh, where he found a good friend in William Nelson, the publisher.

In 1869 Halswelle left England for Italy, and during the next few years concentrated on subjects found there. He was elected a member of the Institute of Painters in Oils in 1882.

Halswelle lived in his later years at Stoner House, Steep, near Petersfield in Hampshire, where he was a ruling councillor of the Primrose League. He died of pneumonia in Paris, and was buried at Steep on 20 April.

In 1857 a painting of his was exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy, and in 1866 Halswelle was elected associate. The 'Roba di Roma', exhibited at Burlington House, gained a prize at Manchester; but the popular work of this period was 'Non Angli sed Angeli', painted in 1877.

Halswelle in later life added to his reputation, as a landscapist. A painting in oil of the 'River Thames above Maidenhead' was included in Henry Tate's gift to the nation, and went to the Millbank Gallery. In 1884 some of his views of the Thames, 'Six Years in a Houseboat', were shown in London; and he wrote a book under the same title.

Halswelle married twice. His first wife was Maria Browne, daughter of the advocate James Browne, and Isabella Stewart, whom he married in Edinburgh on 18 June 1861. In 1873 he married Helen, daughter of Major-general N. J. Gordon, who survived him with two sons, the younger being Wyndham Halswelle.en.wikipedia.org/



KEELEY HALSWELLE, (1832–1891), artist, son of David Halswelle, born at Richmond, Surrey, on 23 April 1832, came of a Somerset stock. At an early age he contributed drawings to the Illustrated London News, and was long engaged in book illustration. Some work for Robert Chambers's Illustrated Shakespeare took him to Edinburgh, where he found a very good friend in William Nelson, the publisher. Among other books which he illustrated were: The Falls of Clyde, 1859; Byron's Poems, 1861; Scott's Poems, 1861; Thomas Morris's Poems, 1863; Wordsworth's Poems, 1863; and The Knight of the Silver Shield, 1885. In 1857 a painting of his was exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy, and in 1866 he was elected associate. In 1869 he left England for Italy, and during the next few years found most of his subjects there. The 'Roba di Roma,' exhibited at Burlington House, gained a 50l. prize at Manchester; but the most popular work of this period, possibly because of its subject, was 'Non Angli sed Angeli', painted in 1877. Halswelle was then known as an artist whose inclination was either to paint from the life or to seek subjects in poems and pages of history. Latterly he made a reputation as an excellent landscapist. An exceptionally beautiful work of this period, a painting in oil of the 'Thames above Maidenhead', was included in (Sir) Henry Tate's gift to the nation, and is now in the Millbank Gallery. In 1884 some views of the Thames, recalling 'Six Years in a Houseboat', were shown by themselves in London. A book on the subject, which bears the same title, was from the artist's pen. Halswelle was elected a member of the Institute of Painters in Oils in 1882.

Halswelle resided in his later years at Stoner House, Steep, near Petersfield, where he was a ruling councillor of the Primrose League. He died of pneumonia at Paris on 11 April 1891, and was buried at Steep on 20 April. He married in 1873 Helen, daughter of Major-general N. J. Gordon, who survived him with two sons.

[Magazine of Art, iv. 406; Men of the Time, 14th ed.; Dict. of British Artists, 1895; Scribner's Cyclopaedia of Painters and Paintings; Tate Collection Official Cat.; Ann. Reg. 1891, Chron. p. 159; Times, 14, 18, and 21 April 1891.]

British painter, Richmond (Surrey) 1832 - Paris 1891. Halswelle was at first engaged in book illustration. Up into the 1860's, he contributed illustrations for editions of the poetical works of Byron, Scott, Wordsworth, Longfellow and Thomas Moore (most of these published in Edinburgh). In 1866, he was elected member of the Royal Scottish Academy, but in 1868 left for Italy and stayed for several years in Rome. “Halswelle was then known as an artist whose inclination was either to paint from the life or to seek subjects in poems and pages of history.” While in the Mediterranean, he also travelled to Menorca, Spain, Gibraltar and Portugal, but there is only vague information about his southern roamings.

After his return to England, he made his reputation as a landscapist in the late 1870's and was in 1882 elected a member of the Institute of Painters in Oils. The painting 'Tug and Timber-Barge' (1880) is often referred to as the first notable result of Halswelle's turn towards depicting landscapes and the majesty of nature in general (and thus no longer wasting his talent, as some contemporaries thought, on genre scenes and "Italian lore"). “By means of these noble productions [i.e. his landscape paintings] the artist has riveted the attention even of those persons who might be supposed to care little for the beauties of natural scenery or rare and sublime atmospheric effects” (Meynell). In 1883, he published "Six Years in a House-Boat": a Series of Eighty Pictures of the Thames Scenery (London: Agnew & Sons). Most of his today better-known works, all belonging to his paysagiste [fr. landscape (rural scenery)] period, date from the 1880's. His works have been displayed in museums in Dublin, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester, Melbourne, Salford and Sydney.

“Halswelle that ends well.” (I borrowed this pun of dubious sagacity from the Dec. 22, 1883, issue of Punch, you'll find it there on p. 294).

The Athenaeum; Wilfrid Meynell, 1886; The Modern School of Art, Volume I, London 1886; Catalogue of the Remaining Works of that Distinguished Artist, Keeley Halswelle, A.R.S.A., Deceased, London 1891; Dictionary of National Biography, Supplement Vol. II.

View painter's art: Keeley Halswelle, (1832-1891)

google.com [new window view]