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William Collins RA (1787 - 1847)

RA Collection: People and Organisations

English landscape and genre painter born in London. His father, William Collins (d. 1812) was a picture dealer and writer, originally form Ireland. He wrote a memoir of the painter George Morland (1763–1804). Collins’s mother (d. 1833) was from Edinburgh.

Collins entered the Royal Academy Schools on 15 January 1807 aged 19 and won the Royal Academy Schools Silver Medal in 1809. He exhibited at the Royal Academy annual exhibition from 1807 to 1846.

He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy on 7 November 1814 and a Royal Academician on 10 February 1820. He served as the Academy’s librarian between 1840-1842.

In 1822 Collins married Harriet Geddes (1790–1868), a cousin of the painter Andrew Geddes ARA (1783–1844). They had two sons, William Wilkie Collins (1824–1889), the novelist, and Charles Allston Collins (1828–1873), the Pre-Raphaelite painter. Wilkie Collins wrote a life of his father, Memoirs of the Life of William Collins, Esq., RA (2 vols., 1848).

Collins died at his home, 1 Devonport Street, Hyde Park Gardens, London, on 17 February 1847 and was buried at St Mary’s, Paddington.

Most published sources, including Wilkie Collins’s biography of his father, state that William Collins was born in 1788. However, it would appear from his baptismal record, and from the entry for him in the RA Schools Register, that he was in fact born in 1787. Parish records state that he was baptised at St Marylebone Church, London on 21 October 1787. According to the Schools Register, he enrolled in the Royal Academy Schools on 15 January 1807 at the age of 19. As he enrolled before his birthday that year, (i.e. 18th September), this would also indicate that he was born in 1877.


Royal Academician

Born: 18 September 1787 in London, England, United Kingdom

Died: 17 February 1847

Nationality: British

RA Schools student from 15 January 1807

Elected ARA: 7 November 1814

Elected RA: 10 February 1820

Librarian: 28 July 1840 - 21 February 1842

Gender: Male

Preferred media: Painting

Works by William Collins in the RA Collection

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Works after William Collins in the RA Collection

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Works associated with William Collins in the RA Collection

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Associated books

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Associated archives

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