"The anti-royal menagerie", cartoon from The Satirist, 1812

William Henry Brooke (17721860) was a portrait painter, illustrator and satirical cartoonist. He was the son of the painter Henry Brooke (1738-1806) and his wife Anne Kirchoffer, and nephew of the writer Henry Brooke (1703-1783). He may have been born in London, where his father was active in the 1760s, but more likely in Dublin, where his parents were married in 1767, and where his father worked as a drawing master from 1770.

As a young man he worked in a bank for a short period before becoming the pupil of the London history painter, Samuel Drummond (1766-1844). He soon became established as a portrait painter in London, first in Soho, later in the Adelphi, and exhibited at the Royal Academy for the first time in 1810. There was a gap in his exhibitions between 1813 and 1826, when he returned with a portrait and two Irish landscapes. He exhibited his last piece at the RA in 1826. His portraits were popular enough to be reproduced as engravings.

He drew political cartoons for the monthly magazine The Satirist under the pseudonym "W. H. Ekoorb", in a style influenced by William Heath (1795-1840), in 1812-1813, after which he was replaced by George Cruikshank (1792-1878). He went on to illustrate several popular books, including Thomas Moore's Irish Melodies (1822), Izaak Walton's The Compleat Angler (1823), T. Keightley's The Mythology of Ancient Greece and Italy (1831), Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, and Fables in Verse for the Female Sex by E. Moore and his uncle, Henry Brooke (1825). He also contributed illustrations for William Hone's Every Day Book (1826–7) and W. H. Harrison's The Humorist (1832). His illustration style was influenced by Thomas Stothard (1755-1834).

He became an associate of the Royal Hibernan Academy in Dublin, where he exhibited a number of pieces from 1827 and 1846. He died in Chichester, Sussex, on 12 January 1860.

External linksEdit


  • Ernest Radford, "Brooke, William Henry (1772–1860)", rev. Paul Goldman, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 6 Nov 2010
  • Simon Houfe, The Dictionary of 19th Century Book Illustrators, Antique Collectors' Club, 1996, p. 76
  • Gordon Goodwin, "Brooke, Henry (1738–1806)", rev. Asia Haut, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2009, accessed 6 Nov 2010
  • Walter G. Strickland, A Dictionary of Irish Artists, 1913

Online referenceEdit

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