William Roxby Beverley - Encyclopedia

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WILLIAM ROXBY BEVERLEY (1814?-1889), English artist and scene-painter, was born at Richmond, Surrey, about 1814, the son of William Roxby, an actor-manager who had assumed the name of Beverley. His four brothers and his sister all entered the theatrical profession, and Beverley soon became both actor and scene-painter. In 1831 his father and his brothers took over the old Durham circuit, and he joined them to play heavy comedy for several seasons, besides painting scenery. His work was first seen in 1831 in London, for the pantomime Baron Munchausen at the Victoria theatre, which was being managed by his brother Henry. He was appointed scenic director for the Covent Garden operas in 1853. In 1854 he entered the service of the Drury Lane theatre under the management of E. T. Smith, and for thirty years continued to produce wonderful scenes for the pantomimes, besides working for Covent Garden and a number of other theatres. In 1851 he executed part of a great diorama of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, and produced dioramic views of the ascent of Mont Blanc, exhibited at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, and in 1884 a panorama of the Lakes of Killarney. He was a frequent exhibitor of sea pictures at the Royal Academy from 1865 to 1880. In 1884 failing eyesight put an end to his painting. He died in comparative poverty at Hampstead on the 17th of May 1889. He was the last of the old school of one surface painters, and famed for the wonderful atmospheric effects he was able to produce. Although he was skilled in all the mechanical devices of the stage, and painted in 1881 scenery for Michael Strogoff at the Adelphi, in which for the first time in England the still life of the stage was placed in harmony with the background, he was strongly opposed to the new school of scene-builders.

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