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William Andrews Nesfield - Summary

Date of Birth: 1793

Date of Death: 02/03/1881

Period Active Earliest Date: 1833

Period Active Latest Date: 1881

Gender: male

Nationality: English

Notable dates

  • baptised 16/06/1794

Occupation: Architect


William Andrews Nesfield, watercolour painter and landscape gardener, was born in Chester-le-Street, Co. Durham, England and was baptised there on 16 June 1794.

He was educated in England at a preparatory school in Winchester, which was followed by an unhappy year at Winchester College. He spent two terms at Trinity College, Cambridge, before becoming a cadet at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, in 1809. He was taught there by Thomas Paul Sandby, the son of the watercolourist Paul Sandby. 

In the autumn of 1813 Nesfield left for the Peninsula War, where he was at Jean de Luz and the attack on Bayonne. He resigned in 1818 to become a watercolourist.

Nesfield was famous for his cascades and looked for subjects in Piedmont and the Swiss Alps, but his landscapes were more often found closer to home in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

He settled in 1820 in London, England had a period in other cities in southern England, before moving into his long-term house at 3 York Terrace, Regent's Park.

From about the time of his marriage to Emma Mills (died 1874) on 13 July 1833, he began a new career as a landscape gardener, often in collaboration with Anthony Salvin (1779-1881). Cascades played their part in his work, although he is best known for his parterres. For two decades he was a sought-after landscape designer, working at various houses in England including Arundel Castle, Sussex; Castle Howard, Yorkshire; Crewe Hall, Cheshire.  

He died at his home in York Terrace on 2 March 1881, leaving less than £5,000.


Seccombe, T., ‘Nesfield, William Andrews (bap. 1794, d. 1881)’, rev. Huon Mallalieu, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004)

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