Smetham, James

PAINTER, ART CRITIC, POET, WRITER OF ESSAYS (GREAT-BRITAIN)
BORN 1821, Pateley Bridge, Yorkshire - DIED 1889
GRAVE LOCATION London: Highgate Cemetery, Swain's Lane, Highgate

Associate of the Pre-Raphaelite painters. He was the son of a Wesleyan minister. He was educated in Leeds until he went to London to start his studies at the Royal Academy in 1843. He also studied at the Working Men's College where Ruskin and Gabriel Dante Rossetti were teachers.

In 1851 he became drawing teacher at the Wesleyan Normal College, Westminster. There he met Sarah Goble, also a teacher. They married in 1854 and had 6 children.

Smetham was known for his landscapes and religious subjects and procduced over 400 paintings, etchings and illustrations. After 1869 he was rejected by the Royal Academy and he suffered a deep depression, turning into a serious mental illnes. After a breakdown in 1877 he withdrew ferom society alltogether.

Smetham had been a religious man and a Methodist class leader. His letters were edited by his widow Sarah in collaboration with William Davis (1892). The inscription on his tomb at Highgate Cemetery, London, reads: 'I shall be satisfied when I awake with Thy likeness'.

Related persons
• knew Madox Brown, Ford
• knew Rossetti, Dante Gabriel
• knew Ruskin, John

Sources
• Whelchel, Harriet (ed.), John Ruskin and the Victorian Eye, Harry N. Abrams, New York, 1993
AIM25 collection description


Smiles, Samuel

Published: 1 Jan 2006
Last update: 6 Mar 2005