William Shayer Snr (1787-1879) was primarily self-taught English landscape painter from Shirley Southampton. He began his artistic career painting decorations on rush-bottom chairs. However, his career developed into a love for painting country scenes such as farm houses, animals, and woodland. He had a particular fascination with Hampshire’s southwest region, the New Forest. A wealthy merchant from Southampton called Michael Hoy was one of his most enthusiastic patrons. Shayer did occasionally collaborate with other artists and found particular success with Edward Charles Williams. He did also collaborate with his son and artist, William J Shayer.
Shayer’s work characteristically portrays brightness, which is due to the vivid colours of his palet and the skilful application of glaze. He was a prolific exhibitor; within his life he exhibited six works at the Royal Academy, eighty-two at the British Institution and over three hundred at Suffolk Street Gallery of the Society of British Artists. Shayer’s work is now displayed at many museums such as the V&A, Tate, Glasgow Art Gallery and New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Shayer’s work has sold at auction from Bonhams, Sotheby’s and Christie's.