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William Edward Frost RA (1810-1877)


William Edward Frost, RA (1810-1877)

William Edward Frost was one of the most popular Victorian painters of the nude, appreciated for a purity of approach and elegance of execution. His subjects ranged from generalised recreations of the ancient world to representations of specific episodes from classic English poetry.

William Edward Frost was born in Wandsworth, then in Surrey, in September 1810. He showed artistic talent from an early age, and was encouraged in this by his father: first by his arranging drawing lessons with a Miss Evatt, a neighbouring amateur, and then, in 1825, by his introducing him to William Etty, who became his mentor. On Etty’s recommendation, he entered Henry Sass’s School for Drawing and Painting at 6 Charlotte Street, in 1826, and spent three years there, while also studying at the British Museum each winter. He was then accepted into the Royal Academy Schools and gained first medals in every class except the Antique, in which Daniel Maclise was a competitor.

Specialising in portraiture from about 1830, Frost painted more than 300 portraits during a 15-year period, and showed some as his first exhibits from 1836.

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