William Henry Davies 1786-1865
William Henry Davies was one of the most successful and prolific Livestock Painters of the mid nineteenth Century. He worked for many of the most influential breeders including Lord Spencer, Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester, & Lord Berwick.
Davis worked until his death at the age of 81 years by which time he owned several properties in Upper Church Street, Chelsea.
George Bryan, the Chelsea Historian, writing in 1869 recalls that he was considered to be one of the best animal portrait painters and was constantly employed at every Smithfield Cattle Show, his work being highly prized.
Davis began his career as a sporting artist but from the late 1840’s concentrated almost entirely on livestock painting.
Davis clearly hit a formula that delighted his patrons. He placed his cattle outside against a spacious landscape, often with a farmhouse or group of buildings on the horizon and a little stream in the foreground.
From 1827 onwards he produced lithographs mainly of Smithfield show winners. After 1834 his paintings are sometimes inscribed ‘Animal Painter to His Majesty’ having completed commissions for William 4th.
Davis also worked for the ‘Farmers Magazine’ for which he recorded prize winning animals from 1835 until his death.