English-born Australian Painter,
was an Australian landscape artist and a member of the Heidelberg School of Australian impressionists. Withers was born at Handsworth, Staffordshire, the son of Edwin Withers. He showed an early desire to paint, but objection was made to this by his father. It is not known what occupation he followed in England, but in 1882 he arrived in Australia with the intention of going on the land. After working for about 18 months on a farm, Withers removed to Melbourne and obtained a position as draughtsman in a firm of printers. He then took up his painting again, and began to exhibit with the Victorian Academy of Arts afterwards merged in the Victorian Artists' Society. In 1887 Withers went to Europe. There he was married to Miss F. Flinn and studied for some months at the Academie Julian, Paris. He returned to Australia with his wife in June 1888 having been commissioned to do black and white work for Messrs Fergusson and Mitchell of Melbourne. His most important work in this way will be found in the illustrations to Edmund Finn's, The Chronicles of Early Melbourne. Withers settled down at first at Kew, a suburb of Melbourne, and then near Heidelberg on the other side of the river Yarra. He became friendly with Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder, Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin and other leading artists of the period. He began to sell a few pictures, but the collapse of the land boom put an end to his illustrative work. He obtained some work as a drawing and painting master in schools, and in 1891 opened a studio in Collins-street west, where he held his first private exhibition.
Approching Summer Storm
oil on canvas, 56.0 x 35.5 cm, by Walter Withers