William Stott of Oldham (British, 1857-1900)

Queen Iseult

Oil on canvas

Signed `William Stott of Oldham’ (lower left)

38.1/4 x 43.1/4 in. (100 x 110 cm.)

Provenance: Christie’s London, 11 Jun 2004, Lot 160

Oldham Art Gallery, 1902, #362


He was born on the 20 November 1857, the son of an Oldham cotton mill owner.After studying in Oldham and Manchester School of Art he went to Paris and studied under the French painter, Jean-Léon Gérôme and achieved rapid success, exhibiting regularly at the Paris Salon. He was an influential member of the artists' colony at Grez-sur-Loing which was full of English, Irish, Scottish and American artists. It was here that he painted Le Passeur, now obtained by the Tate. In 1889 he held a one-man show at the Durand-Ruel Gallery, famous for its showing of the French Impressionists. On his return to England he became a follower and close friend of the painter Whistler, until his painting of Whistler's mistress depicted naked as 'Venus Born of the Sea Foam' caused a rift between them.

For much of his career, Stott painted landscapes, but during the late 1880s began to move towards pictures involving classical figures and allegorical themes, such as ‘The Nymph’ of 1886, and ‘The Birth of Venus’ of 1887. He worked in oils, watercolours and pastels, a medium appropriate to his atmospheric post Impressionistic style. From the year 1882, Stott always signed himself ‘of Oldham’ — both to distinguish himself from the then equally famous Edward Stott ARA (1859–1918) and to acknowledge his proud Oldham roots. Walter Richard Sickert described him as "one of the two greatest living painters of the world”

He died unexpectedly whilst travelling on a ferry from London to Belfast on 25 February 1900