Byam Shaw

Illustrator and painter John Byam Liston Shaw (1872 –1919) was born in Madras, India, on 13 November 1872. The Shaws emigrated to Kennsington, London, in 1878. When he was fifteen-years-old Shaw’s art was shown to Pre-Raphaelite Sir John Everett Millais. Millais encouraged the promising artist, resulting in Shaw's enrollment at St John's Wood Art Schools and later the Royal Academy Schools where he won the Armitage Prize in 1892. Shaw remained heavily influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites. He exhibited his painting Rose Mary, which was based upon a Dante Gabriel Rossetti poem, at the Royal Academy in 1893. In addition to the Royal Academy, Shaw exhibited at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, the Pastel Society, the New Gallery, and the Royal Watercolour Society. Shaw focused almost entirely on illustration after 1898. His 500 drawings for the Chiswick Shakespeare are perhaps the most enduring contribution to his illustration oeuvre. He also contributed to the periodicals The Dome, Cassell’s Family Magazine, The Graphic, The Connoisseur, and Punch. Shaw taught at the Women’s Department of King’s College in Kensington Square but resigned in 1910 to open his own art school with his future biographer and landscape painter Rex Vicat Cole (1870-1940). The Byam Shaw School of Art exists today but in 2003 merged into Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design. Haggard’s The Pearl Maiden (1914) is the last book Shaw illustrated, possibly because he turned his attention to war cartoons and service that year. He served in the United Arts Rifles and the Special Constabulary during WWI. He married Evelyn Pyke-Nott in June 1899, and they had 5 children. Shaw died in London on 26 January 1919.

Further Reading


Cole, Rex Vicat. The Art & Life of Byam Shaw. London: Seeley, Service, 1932. Print.


Houfe, Simon. “Shaw, John Byam Liston ARWS 1873[sic] – 1919.” The Dictionary of British Book Illustrators and Caricaturists 1800-1914. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors’ Club, 1981. 450-451. Print.


Taylor, Gerald. "Shaw, Byam." Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 6 Mar. 2017.


Waters, Grant M.. “Shaw, John Byam, R.I., A.R.W.S., (1872–1919).” Dictionary of British Artists Working 1900- 1950. Eastbourne: Eastbourne Fine Art, 1975. 297. Print.

Illustrations by Byam Shaw



Ahhe391 'Ah!' he said— 'The rod is the Mother of Reason'. Pearl-Maiden: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem. 1st UK edition. 1903
Allday425 All day long Miriam sat fashioning them. Pearl-Maiden: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem. 1st UK edition. 1903
Andif150 'And if I refuse these things?' asked Benoni. Pearl-Maiden: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem. 1st UK edition. 1903
Sheheldthegraphic77 and she held the sleeping little one towards him, at whom he gazed earnestly, yes, and bent down and kissed it. Pearl-Maiden: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem. The Graphic, vol. 66, no. 1703. 19 July 1902

Annaraisedfrontispiece Anna raised her staff and pointed with it to the golden canopy. Pearl-Maiden: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem. 1st UK edition. 1903
Atthethegraphic173 At the sight of him she coloured, letting the cloth fall from her hand, which remained about the neck of the marble. 'I ask your pardon, Lady Miriam,' said Marcus, bowing gravely, for breaking in thus upon your privacy, but time presses with me. Pearl-Maiden: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem. The Graphic, vol. 66, no. 1706. 9 August 1902
Becauseansweredthegraphic549 'Because,' answered the President quietly, 'we did not think it fitting to deliver a child that was committed to our charge, to the care of one who had brought her father, and tried to bring her mother, his own seed, to the most horrible of deaths'. Pearl-Maiden: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem. The Graphic, vol. 66, no. 1708. 23 August 1902
Beforethethegraphic837 Before the woman even had time to shut the door, he thrust it wide and walked straight into the room. Pearl-Maiden: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem. The Graphic, vol. 66, no. 1725. 20 December 1902

Calebheardthegraphic765 Caleb heard footsteps behind him and looked round to see Marcus advancing up the hall with a proud and martial air. Pearl-Maiden: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem. The Graphic, vol. 66, no. 1723. 6 December 1902
Calebwalked439 Caleb... walked straight into the room. Pearl-Maiden: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem. 1st UK edition. 1903
Drawyour33 Draw your knife and we will see which is the better, man or woman. Pearl-Maiden: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem. 1st UK edition. 1903
Forone113 For one second they stood facing each other. Pearl-Maiden: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem. 1st UK edition. 1903