Pigott, William Henry (1835-1901)

Pigott, William Henry (1835-1901)

British artist William Henry Pigott is predominantly known for naturalistic landscape paintings depicting picturesque countryside and placid rural life. Born in Sheffield, England, he initially trained as an engraver before pursuing his true vocation.

His views are reminiscent of the early English watercolourists and capture nature’s abundant beauty with modest elegance. Particularly inspired by the uplands - e.g. the Peak District, North Wales and the Lakes, his oeuvre is one of pastoral bliss under passing clouds. Cattle are a frequent inclusion along with farmworkers and fishermen.

Several cows graze by a broad shimmering river, with the spire of a nearby church rising above a copse. While three fieldhands load a bulging hay cart under a surging midday sun.

In 1927, a retrospective exhibition in Sheffield cast light on Pigott’s career.

“To the last generation of Sheffielders, the name of William Henry Pigott will recall a personality which stood for art and for Sheffield in a special way. A Sheffield man, born in 1835, he lived, worked, and died within Sheffield’s borders, and it is fitting, therefore, that a Sheffield exhibition of his works should be provided for the present generation, whose means of becoming acquainted with William Henry Pigott’s art is becoming more restricted year by year owing to the fact that most of his works have long since found their way into private collections.

Such an exhibition has been organised by Messrs. Hewson and Forster, of 16 and 18, Church Street, Sheffield, the opening ceremony of which will be performed by the Lord Mayor of Sheffield (Alderman J. G. Graves, J.P.) this afternoon. The exhibition adequately reflects the versatility of William Henry Pigott, his love of the country near to his native town and his skill portraying it in an unmistakably clear and truthful manner.

The very names of his pictures show that they, as well the artist who painted them, belong to these parts: “Froggatt Edge,” ‘‘Changing Pastures, Ecclesall,” “Bakewell Church,” “Haddon Meadows,” ‘‘Near Banner Cross,” ‘‘Ecclesall Woods,” are but a few characteristic titles of works which this exhibition contains. His pictures, sometimes in water-colour and sometimes in oils, always rendered some pastoral scene, some fragment of country life—the flock with its shepherd or an incident in the daily round the farmer or the ploughman which he always managed to find awaiting the attention of his penetrating vision and his flawless brushwork on the very doorstep of Sheffield.

His works, as this exhibition shows, revealed an ability to render with meticulous accuracy whatever subject he essayed to portray. And in this accuracy - in his water-colour work - may easily be recognised a painstaking follower of the great English water-colourists who preceded his day, and to whose purity of colour and deftness of touch his best work may be compared. The present exhibition contains exactly one hundred of his pictures, loaned for the occasion by various private owners.”

Sheffield Daily Telegraph, Tuesday 12 July 1927

William Henry Pigott exhibited extensively including at the Royal Academy, Royal Society of British Artists, Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour, Society of Watercolour Painters in Liverpool and the Sheffield Society of Artists where he was a member. He’s represented at Sheffield Museum. His sons, Charles Pigott (1863-1939) and Bertram Pigott (b. 1872) both became artists.


Born in Sheffield, England to Henry Pigott, a publican and tailor, and Martha Pigott.


Working as an engraver possibly for Messrs. Bell and Thompkins.


Married to Sarah Bolsolver.


Studied at the Sheffield College of Art.


Birth of son Charles Pigott (1863-1939).
Called as a witness in a court case involving engravers Edwin Hides and Henry Light who were accused of conspiring to forge American banknotes.

C. 1865

Birth of daughter Mary Pigott.

C. 1872

Birth of son Bertram Piggot.


Debuted at the Royal Academy with ‘Stonyridge, Derbyshire’. He would exhibit four works in total.


Died in Sheffield, England.

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