Moore Senior, William (1791-1851)

Moore Senior, William (1791-1851)

British artist William Moore Sr. found success as a portrait painter in the north of England during the first half of the 19th century. He would pass on his artistic abilities to his brood of children, making him the patriarch of a great legacy of painters.

Moore received no formal training, although he did obtain lessons from local artist Richard Mills in his birth town of Birmingham. It seems a natural instinct must have helped greatly in the furtherance of his career. Living in London before eventually settling in York, Moore began to establish his reputation as a portrait painter of merit.

There is certainly something appealing in the delicate hand he applies to his sitters. Grace and refinement are the epithets of his work. Working in many mediums, from oil to pastel to watercolour, Moore is able to translate through all of these a sense of elegance. This seems fitting for the romantic and genteel era in which he was painting, flattering his subjects with a delicate hand which renders blemishes obsolete.

His oeuvre boasts celebrities such as actress and writer Fanny Kemble (1809-1893) and military men such as Commander John Perkins. There are also examples of members of upper- and middle-class families. With the growth of middle-class citizens made rich off the industrial revolution, more and more people were requiring their portraits painted. Moore clearly found a rich flow of business.

Another significant aspect of his life was his family. Moore was a twice-married man who boasted 14 children from these unions. Five of these also became artists and would receive their very first lessons from their father. Of particular note is Albert Joseph Moore (1841-1893), a leading artist of the Aesthetic movement. John Collingham Moore (1829-1880) was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy in London, and Henry Moore (1831-1895) was a successful marine painter. William Moore Jr. (1817-1909) and Edwin Moore (1813-1893) also pursued art, the latter remaining in York to work as an art teacher.

William Moore Sr.’s legacy extends from beyond his oeuvre to the successful careers of his sons. However, his own work should not be forgotten in light of the dynasty he created. Indeed, Moore was such a passionate artist that he seemingly gave his life for his craft. The ingredients used in the pastels he so often used would prove deadly to his health, and lead to his untimely death.


Born in Birmingham, Britain.


Married Martha Jackson.


Son Edwin Moore born.


Married Sarah Collingham.


Son John Collingham Moore born.


Son Henry Moore born.


Son Albert Joseph Moore born.



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