William Grant was born at Havant in 1893 and appears to have painted in the town and its environs all his life. He was fortunate enough to win a scholarship in 1907 which enabled him to continue his education, and then secured a place at Portsmouth Municipal School of Art, now part of Portsmouth University. The paintings of Portsmouth Harbour and shipping date from this time.
Also from Grant’s early years as an artist are the pencil and crayon sketches of horses and probably also those of his mother and sister. Later portraits are in watercolour and though often undated the costume suggests that Grant was undertaking this sort of work until at least the 1960s.
Watercolour was very much his preferred medium and some of his earliest paintings were completed while he was still in his late teens. Some of these earlier works can, however, seem somewhat insipid when compared with his output in the 1930s where the colour palette is more vibrant and the paint applied with greater confidence.
Hampshire Museums Service collection of William Grant watercolours includes a number of the landscapes in which he specialised. He also painted private gardens and still life works of flowers, suggesting a continuing, and lifelong, love of the natural world.