William Shayer was born in Southampton and spent his entire life in Hampshire. He was a self-taught artist but he attained great prominence during his lifetime and his works sold well. Shayer was a prolific painter and he exhibited widely in London. He was elected a member of the Society of British artists in 1829 and he showed his works there until 1879. He also exhibited at the British Institution between 1827 and1862 and at the Royal Academy between 1820 and 1843. The artist sometimes collaborated with the artist Edward Charles Williams and he had three sons who all became painters.
Shayer’s work followed the tradition of George Morland and Francis Wheatley. He painted idyllic rural scenes of the English countryside untainted by the Industrial Revolution. This painting depicts a charming scene of English country folk enjoying a drink at the Royal Oak and it captures the atmosphere of ‘old England’ to perfection.
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