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William Woodhouse : Heysham artist (1857 - 1939)

In her fine detailed and copiously illustrated biography of William Woodhouse, Accolade to an Artist, Pam Corder-Birch writes:

“William Woohouse, a Lancashire artist, had a love for all creatures great and small. He excelled in painting animals, especially horses and dogs. He painted birds, land and seascapes and a few family portraits. Woodhouse painted many local scenes around Morecambe, Heysham and surrounding area, including ‘the men of the bay’ at work. Before the first World War he painted mainly in oils, some of his greatest works were his sporting pictures, which included his gun dogs Jess and Turk. His Royal Academy exhibits featured animals native to North America and Canada. After the first World War when it became more fashionable Woodhouse painted in watercolour. Increasingly, rural nostalgia with glimpses of country life became a popular form of art. With a great eye for detail many of Woodhouse’s pictures are of historical value as they depict accurately a bygone era.”’


William Woodhouse in his studio at Auburn Court, near St John’s Church, Heysham, c.1930

Courtesy of Lancaster City Museum

Woodhouse was born in Poulton le Sands, the village around which the Morecambe developed. Both his parents also came from the same village. In 2001 a Poulton resident found that Woodhouse had lived in  his house in Poulton Road. Appropriately there is now a wall mural on that house as part of the Poulton Heritage Mural Trail.
After his marriage in 1892 Woodhouse moved into a house in Chatsworth Road named Kenilcote which he designed himself which is featured in his oil painting The Reaper (at the top left, the white side gable). Chatsworth Road as can be seen was then in a rural setting but was soon engulfed by the West End housing development as far as Balmoral Road. In 1902 the family therefore moved into Auburn Court which again gave them a more rural setting as It was on the extreme south of the Victorain/Edwardian development of the north part of Heysham.

Both the latter two houses still exist but our correspondent Liz Howard-Thompson has sent us some pictures to show Kenilcote seriously in need of some ‘tlc’ and also drew our attention to the painting of The Reaper.. Auburn Court seems to be better state of repair.

The Reaper Oil  (above)

The Mussel Gatherers Watercolour (left)

Both courtesy of Lancaster City Museum

This Woodhouse picture is reminiscent of  Polly Blacow. who is often referred to as the last mussel gatherer living in Heysham..

Other Woodhouse paintings of Heysham scenes are featured elsewhere on this website.

For Heysham Old Hall see Visiting Heysham

For Heysham in Winter see Images of Heysham.

For The Wreck of the Vanadis  see SV Vanadis

Visitors to this page have occasionally told us of Woodhouse paintings either previously unknown or whose location is unknown .
See Woodhouse discoveries page

The HHA Archive has some paintings by other much less well known Heysham artists. See separate page