Early Success as an Artist: William Stott of Oldham

Le Passeur (The Ferryman), 1881. Copyright Tate. Purchased with funds provided by The National Heritage Lottery Fund, Art Fund (with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation) and the Hintze Charitable Foundation

Alison Jones, research volunteer, investigates Stott’s early success as an artist.

In March of 1881 Stott exhibited in the Spring exhibitions at the Dudley and Hanover Galleries. The ‘Manchester and Lancashire General Advertiser’ reported  ‘Another excellent French study of light, tone, and colour is Mr William Stott’s little blue sunshine flicked girl, ‘Under the Willows’ and the Graphic of the 13.3.1881 reported  ‘An artist whose name we now met with for the first time,  Mr William Stott  is evidently gifted with a very fine sense of colour.‘

It is perfectly possible that William’s parents went to exhibitions of his work and at the very least, exhibition reviews in the London papers were picked up and repeated verbatim in many provincial papers so would have been read in Oldham and Manchester by his family and their contemporaries.

In the Spring of 1881 William was in Paris working on a portrait of Christina. 1881 continued to be a busy painting year and in the summer, amongst other significant paintings, he painted ‘The Ferryman’. This painting forms the centrepiece of the exhibition at Gallery Oldham.  In the spring of 1882 William exhibited ‘The Ferryman’ at the Paris Salon and the ‘Illustrated London News’ of the 20.5.1882 reported with reference to open air painting ‘ The leading apostles of this new school—- deserve a medal and still more emphatically, perhaps we would predicate this in the case of the two pictures painted by William Stott of Oldham”

By Alison Jones, research volunteer and Roger Brown.