The Collections

Watercolours by William Lionel Wyllie (1851-1931)

Created: 06.07.11

In 1931 Sir James Caird purchased for the NMM a large collection of over 7,000 drawings and watercolours from the artist’s studio. These illustrate all aspects of Wyllie’s artistic output during his long working career, approximately 1868-1931. The selected watercolours demonstrate Wyllie’s outstanding skills as a watercolour artist, and some of the subjects which particularly interested him including the industrial Thames and travel. His work as an illustrator is also represented.


  • Name
  • Artist / Maker
  • Date made
  • ID
  • Wyllie, William Lionel
    circa 1891
    CC V1, P8, 65
    Berck Plage with Bathers, No. 53

    In the catalogue that accompanied Wyllie's 1892 exhibition at the Fine Art Society, 'Holiday Drawings in France and Italy', Mrs Wyllie described the scene shown in this watercolour of bathers on the beach at Berck-sur-Mer: 'M.M. les baigneurs in stripes…

  • Wyllie, William Lionel
    CC V1, P8, 65
    'Zaandam'

    This dramatic view of a windmill at Zaandam, just north of Amsterdam, may have been made at the end of Wyllie's third cruise on the Dutch waterways in 1888. After his wife, and son, Harold (the crew), had returned to…

  • Wyllie, William Lionel
    1883
    CC V1, P8, 65
    'Marabout Island'

    In 1883 the Fine Art Society, London, commissioned Wyllie to paint two pictures of the British Bombardment of Alexandria, which had taken place on 11 July 1882. Wyllie went to Alexandria in order to make studies, of which this is…

  • Wyllie, William Lionel
    1889
    CC V1, P8, 65
    'Lough Swilly'

    In 1889 Wyllie spent some time with the navy during manoeuvres in Lough Swilly on the north-west coast of County Donegal, Ireland. Sixty-nine of the watercolours he produced were exhibited later that year in 'The Queen's Navy', at the Fine…

  • Wyllie, William Lionel
    CC V1, P8, 65
    Loch Fyne Herring Skiffs at Tarbert

    This watercolour study was reproduced as plate no. 17 in Wyllie's 'Marine Painting in Water-Colour' published in 1901. The accompanying text points out that: 'There is a good deal of careful drawing necessary to get this subject right, and it…

  • Wyllie, William Lionel
    circa 1890
    CC V1, P8, 65
    Becton Gasworks

    The jetty of Becton Gasworks was much drawn and painted by Wyllie and was the subject of a painting exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1881. In 'London to the Nore' Mrs Wyllie describes the gasworks: 'This great jetty, the…

  • Wyllie, William Lionel
    after 1890
    CC V1, P8, 65
    Berck-sur-Mer

    In the early summer of 1890 Wyllie, his wife and children spent a holiday at Berck-sur-Mer in the Pas de Calais, staying at the Grand Hôtel de la Plage. Wyllie's watercolour vividly evokes the conditions that Mrs Wyllie describes later…

  • Wyllie, William Lionel
    1890
    CC V1, P8, 65
    Emigrants, New York

    Invited by Sir Thomas Ismay, chairman of the White Star Line, Wyllie, his wife and son, Harold, sailed from Liverpool to New York on board the liner 'Majestic' on her maiden voyage in April 1890. This is one of a…

  • Wyllie, William Lionel
    circa 1890s
    CC V1, P8, 65
    'Margate'

    During the 1890s the Dowdeswell Galleries, London, held several exhibitions of Wyllie's watercolours. In 1896 over a hundred coastal subjects were exhibited in “'Salt-Water Studies', of 'Sunshine, Storms, and Calms'”, and this atmospheric watercolour may have been among them. The…