William S Taylor (1920 - 2010)

The Studio, Ambleside, 1943

SKU: 163
Inscribed by the artist ‘Interior 2’ on reverse, oil on canvas, 18 x 22 in. (45.8 x 55.9 cm.)

Height – 45.8cm
Width – 55.9cm


acquired directly from the artist

Provenance: acquired directly from the artist

The Studio dates to the period when the Royal College of Art evacuated from South Kensington in the Autumn of 1940, taking over two hotels in Ambleside, the Queens and the Salutation, for studios and accommodation.

In 1942 Taylor moved to this studio, which was a barn in the garden of an eighteenth-century house, Gale Cottage, in Old Lake Road in Ambleside: ‘I stayed there for my post-graduate year, 1942-3, when I made this painting .. Candles and oil lamps were the source of artificial light; a small stove with a pipe through the roof was for heating; a tin wash basin for washing and a stove for cooking completed the facilities .. Having been rejected on medical grounds by the armed forces, these years were for me, in spite of the slaughter going on in the real world, the halcyon days: my time was my own, with few responsibilities and only my painting to concern me’. Letter to Paul Liss, 7 November 2001.

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William S Taylor
William S
1920 - 2010

Painter, teacher, writer, exhibition organiser and film-maker, born in Sheffield. He studied at Sheffield College of Art, 1936-39, and at the Royal College of Art, 1939-43. He taught at Sheffield College of Art where in 1963 he established the History of Art Department. He was Dean of the Faculty of Art and Design at Sheffield Polytechnic, 1972-75. He holds a Master of Philosophy degree in art history from Nottingham University. He has organised major shows of Aubrey Beardsley and Edward Burne-Jones at Mappin Art Gallery and made the film Portrait of Beardsley. He has exhibited at the RA, NEAC, at Leicester and Redfern Galleries and in New Zealand and Canada. Taylor’s pictures combine figure and landscape with strong Neo-Romantic overtones, and are saturated with lyricism and a sense of longing. His wife Audrey (Wallis) a talented sculptor and painter who won a scholarship to the RCA 1940-43 was both his model and muse.

With thanks to


William S Taylor (1920 - 2010)
Soldier’s kit, 1940
William S Taylor (1920 - 2010)
Audrey combing her hair, 1943
William S Taylor (1920 - 2010)
Ambleside, 1941
William S Taylor (1920 - 2010)
The Studio, Ambleside, 1943