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 William Robert Symonds  (1851 - 1934)

About: William Robert Symonds


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Lived/Active: United Kingdom      Known for: painting

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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.

Symonds, William Robert (1851-1934)               

Born at Yoxford, Suffolk on 25 February 1851, eldest child of Nathaniel William Symonds (1822-1872), grocer & draper, and his wife Susannah née Cotton (born 1830), who married at Yoxford in 1849.  About 1860 the family moved to 37 Tavern Street, Ipswich where Nathaniel was a master boot & shoe maker and in 1871 the family were living at 17 Cobbold Street, Ipswich where Nathaniel was a ‘woollen draper’ and William an ‘art student’ studying under W T Griffiths at Ipswich Art School before proceeding to the Royal Academy Schools where, in 1873, awarded the ‘premium for the best drawing from the Antique.’ 

He then spent several months in Antwerp and on his return specialized in portrait painting.  In 1875 an artist with a studio at 2 Princes Street, Ipswich, later using one of the Christchurch Park Lodges in Soane Street, and in 1881 living at Ringham Road, Ipswich, where his widowed mother acted as his housekeeper.  In the same year exhibited a portrait of Sterling Westhorp at Ipswich Fine Art Club and continued to exhibit in 1882 when he had a studio at Holland Park Road, Kensington but 1883-85 exhibited from Soane Street, Ipswich, still with his London studio from where he exhibited at the Royal Society of Artists, Birmingham; Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; Manchester City Art Gallery, New Gallery, the Royal Academy, Grosvenor Gallery, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, Royal Society of Portrait Painters, of which he was a member, and Paris Salon between 1851 and 1934.  He married in 1891, 32 year old Margaret Mayo James of Worcester, who had given birth the previous year to a son Robert Weyms Symonds, and they were living at The Studio, Holland Park Road, Kensington but in 1901 living at 2 Rowan Road, Brook Green, Hammersmith.  He undertook several mayoral portraits in Ipswich and elected president of Ipswich Fine Art Club in 1889.  He died at Chelsea 7 November 1934.

Information provided by Tony Copsey.

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