William Arthur Breakspeare (19 January 1856 – 8 May 1914) was an artist from Birmingham, England, the son of John Breakspeare, a flower painter working in the Birmingham japanning trade.
Breakspeare lived in Edgbaston, Birmingham until the age of 22. He was apprenticed to the japanners, Halbeard and Wellings, as a decorator. In 1877, he moved to central Birmingham. He was closely associated with the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (RBSA) gallery, exhibiting 34 works from 1874 to 1899. He was also a founder member of the Birmingham Art Circle. His work covered many genres including genre, portrait, figure and 18th-century costume pieces and landscape.
Breakspeare spent time in Paris, moving there in 1879. Whilst living there he exhibited ‘An Eastern Maid’ at the RBSA, perhaps showing an influence of Orientalism from his stay. However his stay was short and moved to Haverstock Hill in London a few years later in 1881. He is understood to have spent the rest of his life there. As well as his training in Paris, Breakspeare was initially trained at the Birmingham Government School of Design and Charles Verlat’s Academy in Antwerp.
He died at his home at the age of 58 in May 1914. More on William Arthur Breakspeare
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