William Sherlock, Painter and Engraver

(fl. 1759-1806)

Painter and Engraver

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was born in Dublin, according to Bryan about 1738, but probably earlier. Pasquin says that he was son of "Sherlock the celebrated prize-fighter who opposed Faddi, the stout Hungarian, in Broughton's Amphitheatre in Tottenham Court Road, before the Duke of Cumberland and many of the nobility and mobility"; Walpole says he was a fencing master.

The "Old Dublin Intelligencer," 28th July, 1731, says: "Young Sherlock, the prize-fighter, was almost murdered by a grenadier at St. James' Fair." O'Keeffe, in his "Recollections" says: "Mrs. Sherlock kept the "Highlander" Tavern at Ringsend about 1765. She was sister of Sherlock who for many years had been victor in every broad-sword contest in London."

The future artist studied in the St. Martin's Lane Academy, and in 1759 was given a premium for figure drawing by the Society of Arts, and in 1760 one for an engraving. He studied in Paris under Le Bas, the engraver, and did a large plate, "The Grange," after J. Pillement, published in 1761. He also engraved the series of portraits for Smollet's "History of England." He began to exhibit miniatures and small portraits in oil and water-colour with the Society of Artists in 1764; and was a Director of the Society in 1773. He continued to exhibit until 1780, and his works appeared in the Royal Academy from 1796 to 1806. A miniature portrait by him of "Sir John A. Stevenson," signed and dated 1805, is in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

His son, WILLIAM P. SHERLOCK, was a successful imitator in water-colour of the works of Richard Wilson and exhibited them, together with a few portraits, in the Academy from 1800 to 1820. He did landscape and architectural illustrations or Dickenson's "Antiquities of Nottinghamshire," 1801-1806, and in 1811 he published twenty-five soft-ground etchings after drawings by Girtin, Prout and Cox. A number of water-colour views in the neighbourhood of London, by him, are in the British Museum.

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