William Huggins. 1820-1884
The Liverpool Landseer.
An eccentric in the true sense of the word William Huggins (1820-1884) Was a celebrated Victorian artist, extremely famous in his day he specialised in the drawing of animals, preferring their company to that of his fellow humans.
Growing up in Liverpool. As a child, he regularly visited the travelling Menageries and Circuses of the day, as well as visiting the Liverpool Zoological Gardens to better study his subjects. He is also known to have had quite a menagerie of animals in his own home, as well as a large number of "House Chickens."
A child prodigy. He exhibited his first work in the Age of 15 at the Liverpool Academy of Arts, exhibiting consistently thereafter for the rest of his life, his work was often compared to that of his fellow Liverpudlian the 18th century painter George Stubbs, whose influence he was happy to acknowledge. In contrast, when compared to his contemporary the animal painter, Sir Edwin Landseer he was less than complimentary. He was often referred to in his lifetime as "The Liverpool Landseer" much to his displeasure.
Huggins' poultry and cattle pictures were his most successful. He was well known for his characteristic and accurate draughtsmanship.
Maas describes Huggins as an eccentric individual who preferred the company of animals, especially Chickens. He hated travelling through tunnels and would get off the train before Liverpool and walk in order to avoid them.
His epitaph at Saint James's church, Christleton reads, "A just and compassionate man who would neither tread on a worm, nor cringe to an Emperor."