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William Biscombe Gardner - Artist

William Biscombe Gardner 1847 - 1919 Artist and Wood Engraver

Born in Hackney in 1847, William went into business with Charles Roberts as engravers on wood at premises in Fleet Street, but this business was dissolved in 1872.

During the Franco-Prussian War (1870/1871) he provided war engravings for the Graphic. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and Grosvenor Gallery from 1874 – 93 and also at the Salon in Paris. He was awarded a gold medal at the 1900 ‘L’Exposition Universelle’. Among his wood engraving portraits were Gladstone and Tennyson. His work was published in Illustrated London News, Pall Mall Gazette, Magazine of Art and the English Illustrated Magazine. He was highly esteemed as an engraver, but with the modern journalistic requirements needing speed, the labour intensive work of engraving became outdated.

​He turned to painting in oils and watercolours with subjects such as old Kentish farmhouses and hop gardens and also illustrated books featuring the British landscape, notably of Kent.

By 1907 he and his wife were living in Tunbridge Wells. In 1916 he was awarded a Civil pension of £100 p.a. ‘in recognition of his work as a lithographer and of his inadequate means of support’.

In 1911 they lived at ‘Hillsborough’, 3 Prospect Road, Tunbridge Wells. This is on the corner with Cambridge Street and is now number 32

William died in 1919 leaving £1,604 to his widow who died in 1930. They had no children and are both buried in B3 (Anglican) 322.

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