The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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George Spencer Watson, 1869-1934

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1869
Place of Birth: London
Date of Death: 1934.04
Place of Death: London


George Spencer Watson, was a portrait and figure painter. He was the son of William Spencer Watson, M.B., F.R.C.S. He married Hilda Gardiner and they had one daughter, Mary.


Spencer Watson studied at the Royal Academy Schools from 1889, were he became a Landseer Scholar and a silver medallist. He exhibited works at the Royal Academy from 1891 and at the Paris Salon. He is mentioned in a February 1898 letter from Francis Howard to Whistler, in a list of artists accepted to exhibit at the International Society of Sculptors, Painters, and Gravers Exhibition that year, during Whistler's Presidency. Spencer Watson showed one oil painting, a portrait of F. G. Vialls, Esq..

He continued to exhibit throughout his life and became an Associate of the Royal Academy, as well as treasurer of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. His work was criticised at times for the severity of his work but also for loss of control of colour. He was however praised for his ability to make his subjects look well bred and for his rendering of the nude.


Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, Paris, 1956-61; Obituary, 'Mr. Spencer Watson, R.A. A Successful Portrait Painter', The Times, London, Thursday, 12 April 1934, p. 17; 'George Spencer Watson', biography at (accessed July 2005); Illustrated Souvenir Catalogue of the Exhibition of International Art Knightsbridge, The International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, London, 1898.