John William Inchbold (1830–1888) Painter and Poet

7th March 2014


Born in Leeds to Thomas and Rachel Inchbold , John William was only two when his father died leaving his mother alone to bring up five children and run the family printing firm.

The young John was sent to London to train as a lithographer , where he also studied landscape painting. In 1849 Inchbold’s work was first exhibited at the Royal Academy which accepted several of his pictures in the early 1850s.

His work was strongly influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites and the writings of John Ruskin.  Inchbold became friends with Millais, Rossetti and Holman Hunt and was supported by Ruskin who thought him the most promising of the young landscape painters.

Inchbold tried to survive by selling his paintings but, by 1853 when his mother died,  he had no financial support. Although he lived simply and stayed with friends, including Ruskin,  he managed to travel to Cornwall, Scotland and Switzerland where he painted the scenery.

Inchbold was often ill during the 1860s and in financial trouble, although he was helped by friends to sell his work. In 1864 he spent  several months in Cornwall with the poet Algernon Swinburne who  introduced Inchbold to Dante Gabriel Rossetti with who he remained life long friends.

In 1877 Inchbold  published  a volume of poetry called “Annus Amoris” (year of love).  Throughout his life his struggled to sell his pictures and after his death , at the age of 57 at his sisters house in Leeds,  his pictures fetched very little. John William Inchbold is buried in Adel  Church.