Bartlett, William Henry, 1809—1854
by Benjamin Colbert
William Henry Bartlett, topographical artist, was born on 26 March 1809 in London, the second child of William Bartlett and Ann Bartlett. He was educated privately until 1821, and the following year he became apprentice to the antiquarian John Britton (1771-1857). Under Britton he learned techniques for sketching and drawing, and contributed as a draughtsman to Britton’s Chronological History and Graphic Illustrations of Christian Architecture in England (1826) among other projects.
When Bartlett’s apprenticeship ended in 1829, Britton continued to provide him work and introductions. On 6 July 1831, Bartlett married Susan Moon (1811-1902), niece of the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Francis Moon. They honeymooned in Holland and took a ten-day Rhine tour from there, before returning to Kentish Town in London. In 1832, Dr William Beattie commissioned him to illustrate a book on Switzerland, Switzerland Illustrated (1836), necessitating a sketching tour to that region. In 1833 he toured the Holy Land for Syria, the Holy Land, Asia Minor (1936). Other commissions and projects followed, and in the next decade Bartlett travelled to the Low Countries (1835-36), the United States and Canada (1836-37; 1838; 1841), and the countries bordering the Danube (1842).
In the mid-1840s Bartlett published his own illustrated travel writings: Walks about the City and Environs of Jerusalem (1844), Forty Days in the Desert on the Track of the Israelites (1848), and The Nile Boat (1849). In March 1849, he became editor of Sharpe’s London Journal, a post he held until January 1852. He continued travelling, drawing, and writing, as well, publishing Gleanings, Pictorial and Antiquarian, on the Overland Route (1851) covering a tour through France, Gibraltar, Malaga, and Granada. His last book, Pictures from Sicily appeared in 1852. He died at sea en route from Malta to Palestine on 13 September 1854.
El-Mudarris, Hussein I., and Oliver Salmon. Romantic Travel through Bartlett’s Engravings: From Europe to the Middle East. Aleppo (Syria): Ray Publishing and Science, 2007.
Graves, R. E. ‘Bartlett, William Henry (1809–1854)’. Rev. Anne Pimlott Baker. ODNB. Oxford University Press, 2004. Online.
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