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
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

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
Forthe117 For the first time they met with no other eyes to watch them. Pearl-Maiden: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem. 1st UK edition. 1903

Goodmorning283 'Good morning to you, daughter,' he said. Pearl-Maiden: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem. 1st UK edition. 1903
Hebent57 He bent down and kissed the child. Pearl-Maiden: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem. 1st UK edition. 1903
Heturned377 He turned and saw her. Pearl-Maiden: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem. 1st UK edition. 1903
Iappeal330 'I appeal from Caesar the small to Caesar the great'. Pearl-Maiden: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem. 1st UK edition. 1903