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Etty, William

Etty, William (1787–1849). Painter. Son of a baker, born in York and educated at Pocklington, Etty was apprenticed to a printer, but moved to London in 1806 and worked under the guidance of Lawrence. His first success was Cleopatra's Arrival, a crowded canvas (1821). He was elected ARA in 1824 and full Academician in 1828, defeating constable by 18 votes to 5. The large classical and historical themes on which he concentrated are not greatly to modern taste, but his nudes have always won admiration, and many of his portraits are outstanding, particularly John Brook (York City Art Gallery) and the Hon. Caroline Norton (private collection). Much of his work is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and there is a special collection at York, with a somewhat insignificant statue of the artist (by J. W. Milburn, 1910–11) outside the gallery. Etty left a good (and romanticized) self-portrait, and an autobiography.

J. A. Cannon

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Etty, William

William Etty, 1787–1849, English painter. He studied with Sir Thomas Lawrence and later in Italy, where Venetian painting made a lasting impression on him. Etty is best known for his spirited figure compositions and his large and complex mythological scenes. He achieved fame in 1825 with his Combat (Edinburgh). Characteristic of his work are his three Judith pictures (Edinburgh), The Three Graces (Metropolitan Mus.), and Youth at the Prow and Pleasure at the Helm (Tate Gall., London).

See study by D. Farr (1958).

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