William Barnes Wollen was a military, sporting and portrait painter and illustrator.
Wollen spent most of his life in Bedford Park where he was born. He was educated at University College School, London and at the Slade School of Art under Edward Poynter and Alphonse Legros. He made his debut at the Royal Academy in 1879 with Football, which received favourable reviews. He was described at that time as a 'figure painter', but became best known for his military pictures, which span the 1880s through to the Boer War and World War I. He exhibited from 1879 to 1922 not only at the Royal Academy but at Royal Society of Artists in Birmingham, Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, Manchester City Art Gallery, Royal Hibernian Academy and Royal Scottish Academy.
Wollen made contributions to the Illustrated London News, The Strand Magazine, for which he illustrated stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, Black & White, Chums, The Boys' Own Paper, Daily Chronicle, The Penny Illustrated Paper, Cassell's Family Magazine and The Wide World from 1882 through to the 1900s. He also illustrated L. Thompson's Rex in 1894, and acted as special artist for The Graphic in South Africa in 1900. He was a member of the Society of Illustrators which invited JW to become its Vice-President in 1894. He was elected a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours in 1888, a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 1897 and an honorary member of the latter society in 1934.
Wood, Christopher, Dictionary of Victorian Painters, Woodbridge, 1971; Johnson, J., and Anna Gruetzner, Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940, Woodbridge, 1980; Houfe, Simon, The Dictionary of Nineteenth Century Book Illustrators and Caricaturists, Woodbridge, 1996.