William Shayer Senior
William Shayer was a landscape and animal painter. A self-taught artist, he lived in Southampton, and painted mostly in Hampshire and the New Forest. His work falls into two distinct categories; firstly, wooded scenes with gypsies, rustic figures and animals, and secondly, beach or coastal scenes with boats and fisherfolk.
Shayer first earned his living in Southampton painting decorations on rush bottom chairs. He then moved to Guildford to work as a coach painter.
Shayer’s career was helped considerably by the patronage of Michael Hoy, a popular and wealthy Southampton merchant, who owned extensive estates. Shayer sometimes collaborated with Edward Charles Williams. His son, William J Shayer, was also a painter. Shayer was a remarkably prolific exhibitor. He exhibited two hundred and forty-six paintings in the major London galleries, three hundred and thirty-eight at the Society of British artists, six at the Royal Academy and eighty-two at the British Institution.
The work of Shayer is represented in the Haworth Art Gallery, Lancashire, Arundel Castle, West Sussex, the Cooper Gallery, Barnsley, the North Devon Atheneum, Barnstaple, the Burton Art Gallery, Bideford, the Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, the Bristol City Art Gallery, the Townley Hall Art Gallery, Burnley, the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, the Cheltenham Art Gallery, the Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery, Glasgow City Art Gallery, the Hastings Museum, the Huddersfield Art Gallery, the Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, the Leeds City Art Gallery, the Leicestershire Art Gallery, the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, the Guildhall Art Gallery, the Tate Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the Manchester City Art Gallery, the Laing Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, the Nottingham Castle Museum, the Perth Museum, the Mappin Gallery, Sheffield, the Southampton City Art Gallery and Museum, Sunderland Museum and Art Gallery, Walsall Museum and Art Gallery, Wolverhampton Central Art Gallery and the York City Art Gallery.