A leading member of the Liverpool School of painters, William Huggins began his career as a student in the life classes of the Liverpool Academy. Following in the footsteps of Liverpool's son, George Stubbs, William Huggins's great love was animal painting. Not only did he always keep a house full of pets, but he also spent many a day at the Zoological Gardens studying and drawing. On more than one occasion, he followed Wombwells Menagerie, the traveling animal circus, around England. However, his favourite subject matter of the late 1850s was the colourful plumage of domestic poultry. — Peter Nahum and Sally Burgess

Huggins was an eccentric individual. He preferred the company of animals, especially chickens, than of his fellow men. He hated travelling through tunnels, and so would get off the train before Liverpool and walk the rest of the way home. His epitaph, which he composed himself, read: 'A just and compassionate man who would neither tread on a worm, nor cringe to an Emperor'. — Rupert Maas



Maas, Rupert. British Pictures. London: The Maas Gallery. 2006.

Nahum, Peter, and Sally Burgess. Pre-Raphaelite-Symbolist-Visionary. London: Peter Nahum at Leicester Galleries.

Last modified 12 August 2001