Robert William Wallis

Born 1794
Died 1878
Place of Birth London
Place of Death Hove, Sussex
Gender Male
Biographical Notes From the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Line engraver, was born in London on 7 November 1794, the eldest son of Thomas Wallis (d. 1839), assistant to the topographical engraver Charles Theodosius Heath (1785–1848), and his wife, Ann Davies. He was taught engraving by his father, who moved the family first to Bungay in Suffolk, from 1803 to 1812, and then to Bethnal Green and Liverpool. He returned in 1818 to London, where he was rejoined by his father in 1821. He married, at Shoreditch on 25 March 1819, Janet Emily, née Munro (d. 1857), with whom he had nine children. On his return to London he immediately found employment as a landscape engraver on steel, providing illustrations for the numerous travel books then reaching the market. James Baylis Allen (1803–1876) worked as his assistant. By the mid-century Wallis was judged one of the ablest landscape engravers, excelling in the interpretation of the work of Joseph Mallord William Turner. He was employed on Turner's illustrations to Cooke's Southern Coast of England; Turner's England and Wales and his Rivers of France; Heath's Picturesque Annual; Jennings Landscape Annual; and the illustrations to many fine editions of popular works. Fourteen of his engravings were published in the Art Journal between 1849 and 1880. His finest productions were the large plates after Turner's Lake of Nemi and The Approach to Venice, a proof of which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1859. Wallis then retired, and passed the remainder of his life in the Brighton area; he died at his home, 30 York Road, Hove, Sussex, on 23 November 1878.

Anita McConnell, ‘Wallis, Robert William (1794–1878)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Sept 2010 [, accessed 17 May 2013]