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William Etty RA was a painter who was famous for painting history paintings with nude figures. He was the first important British artist to paint a nude figure, and is known for his still lifes and portraits

Etty studied under renowned artist Sir William Gilbert and began painting in 1829. He exhibited three paintings at the RA's Summer Exhibition: The World Before the Flood (1828), Venus, the Evening Star (1829) and Guardian Cherubs (1842). The latter was an unfinished study of a family in the forest. The portrait was a success and led to further commissions. In 1842, Etty created an enigmatic and mysterious portrait of Godfrey de Bouillon. It was his final work, and it was one of the most beautiful and enduring of all his works.

A soaring reputation for his portraits and nude paintings led Etty to travel to Paris. He had been enamored with Titian's work and a large collection of art prints at the time. However, the pressure of the city and the lack of patronage prevented him from establishing a household name. Nevertheless, he managed to establish a private academy in York and play a pivotal role in the conservation of the City walls.

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