William Mathew Hale

British, b.1837, d.1929

The Houses of Parliament, Westminster

  • Presented by the Canterbury Society of Arts, by Sir John Hall 1907; given to the Gallery, 1932
  • Watercolour
  • 810 x 1050mm
  • 69/352
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William Hale has here painted one of the world’s most notable views, looking across the River Thames towards the Houses of Parliament, at Westminster. The work was exhibited at the New Zealand International Exhibition of 1906-1907 in Christchurch. Trained as an academic painter, Hale painted this large watercolour in his studio, working from sketches he made out of doors. He has expertly overlaid broad washes of watercolours on wet paper to convey the hazy atmospheric conditions of the evening light in the distance, while painting the foreground barges with more care and detail. Born in Bristol, Hale was taught by James Harding (1798-1863) and William Collingwood Smith (1848-1922). Hale lived in London until the early 1900s when he returned to base himself in Bristol, though he travelled widely throughout Europe. Hale specialised in marine scapes. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and with the Old Watercolour Society. He was elected an associate of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1871.