William John Hennessy
(July 11, 1839 – December 27, 1917) was an Irish
William John Hennessy was born in Thomastown
, County Kilkenny
in 1839. His father, John Hennessy, was forced to leave Ireland in 1848 as a result of his involvement in the Young Ireland
movement. He landed in Canada
and settled in New York
. William, his mother Catherine, and brother joined their father there in 1849. He gained admittance to the National Academy of Design in 1854 and exhibitioned his first works there.
Hennessy developed a skill in wood engraving and was hired to illustrate the works of renowned poets, including that of Tennyson
. As an American he became the co-founder of the Artists’ Fund Society, and an honorary member of the American Society of Painters in Watercolours. In 1870 he moved to London
where he became a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters
in 1902. Between 1879 and 1907 the Royal Hibernian Academy
displayed eight of his paintings.