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William Dering

 (mid 1700s)
William Dering was active/lived in Virginia, Pennsylvania.  William Dering is known for naive portrait painting, dancing teacher.

William Dering

Biography from the Archives of askART

A portrait painter and dancing teacher, William Dering lived in Philadelphia from 1735 to about 1740; Williamsburg, Virginia, from 1740 to 1749; and Charleston, South Carolina from 1749.  Nothing is known about him until he appeared in Philadelphia in 1735, opened a dancing school and advertised as a dancing master.  He also "advised he would teach reading, writing, sewing and French."

By 1740, he was in Williamsburg, Virginia and was teaching dancing in what was described as the "newest French manner".  He also organized balls and other galas.  Around this time, he began portrait painting, and about eleven portraits are linked to him, based upon similarity to one of his early signed portraits, Mrs. Drury Smith, dated 1745.

His best-known portrait is George Booth, also completed about 1745.  It is full length "showing a well-dressed young man standing in a fashionable pose between two pedestals, atop of which set two sculptural portrait busts, the clothes and sculpture providing evidence of the family prosperity."  Reportedly Dering had several hundred prints of possible portrait poses from which his clients could choose.

In December of 1749, he had moved to Charleston where apparently he had stopped painting and focused on dancing classes.  He was still there by 1751 and may have died there, but that is unknown as some evidence shows him there as late as 1764.  His name also appears as William Deering.

Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art

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