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British landscape and marine painter William Joseph Julius Caesar Bond was a prominent member of the nineteenth century Liverpool School of artists.
Born in the Lancashire village of Knotty Ash (today an eastern district of Liverpool), Bond was apprenticed to Thomas Griffiths, a Liverpool picture dealer and restorer before largely training himself as an artist. Aged 23 Bond became an Associate (1856) of the Liverpool Academy, elected Member three years later and travelled to Antwerp in Belgium where he may have seen examples of Dutch Golden Age painting.
Bond is known for his dramatic landscapes and coastal scenes painted in oil in places easily accessible from Liverpool such as fashionable North Wales. The landscapes and coastlines of North Wales were well known and much frequented by the wealthy families of nineteenth-century Liverpool, many of whom built their summer homes there. The Romantic paintings of J. M. W. Turner proved a striking influence, as did the contemporary work of the avant-garde Pre-Raphaelites. However, Bond developed his own distinctive and sophisticated style that often exudes a rich, Impressionistic rendering of colour.
Although Bond exhibited in London between 1857 and 1881 (Royal Academy, Society of British Artists and the Grosvenor Gallery) he spent all of his life in Liverpool, enjoying the relative artistic freedom afforded the artists of the city, exhibiting extensively and working for the deep spring of wealthy English patrons to be found there. To put some of this in context, Ian Jackson has written that ‘Liverpool had grown in importance as a commercial city and its wealthy middle classes were enthusiastic buyers of art. What made Liverpool important to Victorian painters was not only that it was a source of patronage, but that it was more receptive to new ideas and young artists than the Royal Academy in London'.
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