British, 1830 - 1916
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Painter in oil and watercolour of historical genre. Born in London on 21st February 1830. He studied art at Carey's School, ad the RA Schools, also in Paris (Gleyre's studio and the Beaux Arts between 1840-50), Rome and Venice. Exhibited at the RA from 1854, and also showed many works at the RWS. He was a prolific painter and in later years painted in Italy, Sicily and Egypt.
He painted some important Pre-Raphaelite works in the 1850s, the best-known of which are The Death of Chatterton and The Stonebreaker. The Death of Chatterton portrays the death of the 17 year old poet Thomas Chatterton, who committed suicide by taking arsenic. Chatterton was a brilliant young poet, influencing Keats and Wordsworth, who called him 'the Marvellous Boy'. The model for the dead poet was George Meredith, then aged about 28. Two years later Meredith's wife eloped with Wallis. Wallis painted the picture in the actual attic in Gray's Inn where Chatterton died.
Elected ARWS 1878, RWS 1880. He died in December 1916.
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