John Wilson Anderson (1798 – 1851) was born in Halifax, but his family moved to Bingley when he was a child. John – as was common then among working class young men with artistic talent – was apprenticed as a painter and decorator.
When John had served his apprenticeship, he set up his own painting and decorating business in Ivegate, Bradford. His artistic talent was well-regarded locally, and in addition to house decorating, he applied his art to scene painting for the Smedley and Skerrits Patent Theatre in Bradford. He also painted still life and local landscape scenes that were exhibited and sold in local shops.
One of his most important works shows an oil painting of Bradford in 1825 that he later reproduced as an engraving and sold at a local bookshop. This painting, shown below, now in the ownership of the Bradford Museums and Galleries service, of is one of the earliest views of the growing city and the surrounding countryside.
Anderson was remembered by Butler Wood, a local historian, in his article: Some Old Bradford Artists, as ‘an easy-going character … never doing today what could be put off ’till tomorrow’. (Published in ‘The Bradford Antiquary’, 1895, pp.198-209).