William Woollett (15 August 1735 – 23 May 1785) was an English engraver operating in the 18th century.
He was born at Maidstone, of a family which came originally from the Netherlands.
He was apprenticed to John Tinney, an engraver in Fleet Street, London, and studied in the St Martin's Lane academy. His first important plate was from The Destruction of the Children of Niobe of Richard Wilson, published by Boydell in 1761, which was followed in 1763 by a companion engraving from the "Phaethon" of the same painter. After Benjamin West he engraved his fine plate of the "Battle of La Hogue" (1781), and "The Death of General Wolfe" (1776), which is usually considered Woollett's masterpiece. In 1775 he was appointed engraver-in-ordinary to George III; and he was a member of the Incorporated Society of Artists, of which for several years he acted as secretary.
Woollett's plates combined engraving, etching, and dry-point; and were considered highly esteemed examples of the English school of engraving. Louis Fagan, in his Catalogue Raisonné of the Engraved Works of William Woollett (1885), enumerated 123 plates by Woollett.
Thomas Hearne became apprenticed to him in 1765, Woollett came to consider him the finest landscape engraver of his day; he stayed for six years.
- Fagin, Lewis. A catalogue raisonné of the engraved works of William Woollett (London, The Fine art society Ltd., 1885).
- Bryan's dictionary of painters and engravers, volume 5 (New York: Macmillan, 1903) p394.
- Brendan Cassidy, 'William Woollett's Ring', Print Quarterly, Vol.XXXV No.1 March 2018, pp70-71.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to William Woollett.|
- William Woollett and family (woolletthistory.co.uk)
- Engravings by Woolett (Government Art Collection)
- William Woollett & William Hogarth – Frontispiece to Taylor's Perspective (Art of the Print)
- Phaeton (engraving after Richard Wilson)
- Works by Woolett (National Portrait gallery, London)
- William Woollett at Find a Grave