William Henry Pyne (1770 - 1843)
William Henry Pyne (1770–1843) was a printmaker and watercolourist, albeit of limited ability, who today is perhaps better known for his writing on the history of the watercolour medium. A series of anonymous articles titled ‘The Rise and Progress of Water-Colour Painting in England’, published in the Somerset House Gazette in 1823–24, placed Girtin and his contemporary Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), at the centre of the triumph of the modern ‘English’ School (Pyne, 1823a; Pyne 1823b; Pyne, 1823c). The relevant parts of the first three of the articles are transcribed in the Documents section of the Archive (1823 – Items 1 and 2). Pyne’s detailed description of Girtin’s working practice, including a lengthy description of his palette, makes it clear that he had carefully observed the artist at work in his studio. A later, anonymous article by Pyne, ‘Recollections of the Late Thomas Girtin’, contains more eyewitness material and it too provided the artist’s early biographers with compelling evidence of his practice as an artist (Pyne, 1832a). This article too is transcribed in full in the Documents section of the Archive (1832 – Item 1).