Engraver and painter, cousin of William Havell. He learnt the art of aquatint engraving from his father, Robert Havell I. He worked first in the family engraving business and then c. 1825-7 with Colnaghi in London. In 1827 he undertook the execution in aquatint of the plates for John James Audubon Birds of America, published in parts in London between 1827 and 1838. Havell engraved 425 of the plates and reworked the ten that had been engraved by William Home Lizars in Edinburgh. Havell father printed and coloured some of the double elephant folio sheets in 1827-8 after which Havell took on those tasks himself, establishing himself as a master of aquatint. Among his other important works in the medium are the plates for Mrs E. Bury Selection of Hexandrian Plants (London, 1831-4). In 1839, at Audubon invitation, Havell moved with his family to New York and embarked on a new career as a landscape painter in the style of the Hudson River school, while also working as an engraver. He settled in the Hudson River villages of Ossining (1841) and Tarrytown (1857) but painted throughout north-eastern America. View of Deerfield, Massachusetts (1847; Hist. Deerfield, MA) is characteristic of his quietly romantic idealization of his subjects. Niagara Falls from the Chinese Pagoda (1845; New York, Pub. Lib.), engraved by Havell after one of his paintings, is among the best known of his American aquatints. Though his reputation rests largely on his work for Audubon, his original subjects gave him greater opportunities to display the full range of his aquatint technique.
Part of the Havell family
Land of Promise