Greaves, Walter (1846-1930) by Scholes, Robert

Walter Greaves (1846 – 1930) Walter Greaves and his brother Henry were the sons of Charles William Greaves, a Chelsea boat-builder and waterman. The Greaves brothers were both apprenticed to their father. However, they met in 1863 and became his studio assistants. Walter Greaves recalled, During the 1870s, they would row him up and down the Thames as he worked, as their father had rowed Turner before them. Walter and Henry used to attend M. Barthe’s life classes at Limerston Street in Chelsea in the company of Whistler, and would also join him on drawing expeditions. Toward the end of the 1870s Whistler became distressed with the closeness of Greaves’s work to some of his own, and warned him off, finding other young disciples who were more independent, among them, and leaving the Greaves brothers to their own devices. Walter sank into poverty. He was re-discovered by William Marchant, proprietor of the Goupil Galleries, who put on an exhibition of his work in 1911, which was reviewed favorably in by Sickert. The Pennells (Whistler’s biographers), however, accused Greaves of plagiarising the master’s work and he fell once again into obscurity. The final eight years of his life were spent as a Poor Brother of the Charterhouse. Whistler We used to get ready his colours and canvasses, prepare the grey distemper ground which he so liked working upon, and painted the mackerel-back pattern on the frames. Walter Sickert The New Age NA 9.7:159

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