John William Waterhouse was born in 1849 in Rome where his father worked as a painter and his mother Isabella kept house. His nickname was "Nino". In the 1850's, the family moved to England and Waterhouse senior started a studio in South Kensington where they both worked for a short time. John was accepted to the Royal Academy in 1870, where he was influenced by both Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema and Frederick Leighton, and his first exhibition was in 1874. His paintings were well received and he was ecstatic.
He traveled to Italy on a number of occasions and painted a number of genre scenes. He is respected by many as the last of the English Romantic Painters.
He married Esther Kenworthy in 1883, the daughter of an art schoolmaster from Ealing, who had exhibited her flower paintings at a number of events in England. Unfortunately, they had no children. It is interesting that very few personal effects of John Waterhouse like letters or writings exist today, so his private life is mystery.
John painted mainly in oils, yet he was elected to the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour in 1883, but he resigned a few years later.
He was elected to the status of Academician in 1895 and taught at St John's Wood Art School and St John's Wood Arts Club and the Royal Academy.
Many would appeal that his most famous painting is "The Lady Shalott", which is about a grieving Elaine of Astolat, when Sir Lancelot does not love her.
He contracted cancer, but continued painting almost to the day he died in 1917. His wife lived for another twenty-seven years and died in a nursing home in London.
His paintings hang in many galleries around the world.