William Walcot was a British artist and etcher. Born in Odessa, modern-day Ukraine, in 1874 Walcot was the son of a travelling merchant. During his childhood, Walcot travelled extensively throughout Europe before settling in Russia at the age of seventeen to study architecture at the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, St Petersburg. After briefly studying in Paris at the École des Beaux-Arts the artist returned to Russia where he worked as a practising architect for many years, designing the Hotel Metropol and several other buildings in the city of Moscow in a distinctly Art Nouveau style. His practical career as an architect ended upon his relocation to London in around 1906, whereupon Walcot sought work as a draughtsman. His skill in envisioning finished buildings and presenting construction designs in a distinctly inventive style led Walcot to become one of the most eminent architectural artists of his time.
Walcot’s position as a true artist began to develop after the Fine Art Society commissioned visits to Rome and Venice, culminating in an exhibition of watercolour studies at the Society in 1908. Several solo exhibitions would follow in the years to come, including frequent participation at the Royal Academy Summer shows, where the artist’s watercolours and increasingly popular etchings of both contemporary and ancient cities were shown to great acclaim. Walcot was elected as member of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1913, an Associate of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers in 1916, and was deemed Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1922. Though Walcot’s popularity continued steadily throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the onset of the Second World War saw a decline in his artistic output. The artist died in 1943, leaving behind a lasting legacy as one of the most celebrated etchers of his time.