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 William II Sadler  (1782 - 1839)

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Lived/Active: Ireland      Known for: landscape painting and illustration

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BIOGRAPHY for William Sadler
1782 (Ireland)


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landscape painting and illustration

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

William Sadler II (c.1782-1839)

The Irish landscape painter and illustrator William Sadler II was born in Dublin to an artistic family, around 1782.  In addition to his favorite hobby of copying the narrative "action" paintings of Old Masters*, he specialized in small-scale detailed works of landscape painting, executed in oils, containing a number of human subjects and typically several features of topographical* or other interest, including crowds or military scenes.  Most were painted on mahogany wood panels.

A typical example of William Sadler's landscape/genre work is Donnybrook Fair (c.1839), in which he captures all the Rabelaisian flavour of the annual Dublin celebration in Donnybrook.  He depicts the detail of the drunken crowds, the stick-wielding rowdies, the nursing mothers and all.  An army recruiting tent behind the Union Jack reminds us of the British military presence.

He also completed a number of history paintings, featuring conflagrations, such as Eruption of Mount Vesuvius, Burning of the Royal Exchange, and Burning of the Arcade in College Green.  Later, many of his oil paintings were designed, composed and executed in his art studio with the help of several assistants and pupils.

Sadler exhibited his works with several artist societies in Dublin venues (1808-23), and afterwards showed at the Royal Hibernian Academy*.

He had two sons, both of whom became artists: William Sadler III (born around 1808), who went on to paint landscapes and other works in a similar style to Sadler senior, as well as a number of humorous sketches and caricatures*; and Rupert Sadler (1810-92), who produced genre works and landscapes, and also exhibited at the RHA.

Works by William Sadler II can command five figure sums at auction, and are represented in several public collections of Irish painting both in the Republic and further afield.

Online Encyclopedia of Irish and World Art

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

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