James Hayllar was a genre, portrait and landscape painter who came from a family of artists. He had four daughters, Jessica (1858-1940), Edith (1860-1948), Mary (fl. 1880-5) and Kate (fl. 1883-1900), all of whom were painters and exhibited regularly at the R.A.
Hayllar, who came to London in 1848, studied with F. S. Cary and at the R.A. Schools. The period 1851 to 1853 he spent in Italy. He began his career painting small oil portraits and heads, but in the late 1850s, influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites, he turned to painting humorous genre pictures involving children. At this time he was notable for his detailed manner. However, later his style of painting became broader and he began painting historical paintings with a popular appeal, e.g. The Progress of Queen Elizabeth.
Hayllar was active exhibiting between 1850 and 1898, showing at the Royal Academy, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, Royal Hibernian Academy, British Institution, Royal Society of Artists in Birmingham, Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and Manchester City Art Gallery, but principally at the Society of British Artists in London, a society which appointed JW its President in 1886.
Hayllar was elected a member of the SBA in 1876, becoming a council member in 1887, that is during JW's presidency. In October 1886 the society's financial difficulties were in part met by a lottery of JW's etchings to which Hayllar subscribed (#05276).
Wood, Christopher, Dictionary of Victorian Painters, Woodbridge, 1971; Wood, C., 'The Artistic Family Hayllar', Connoisseur, April 1974, pp. 166-73; Wood, C., 'The Artistic Family Hayllar', Connoisseur, May 1974, pp. 2-9; Wood, Christopher, The Dictionary of Victorian Artists 2nd ed., revised, Woodbridge, 1978; Johnson, J., and A. Gruetzner, Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940, Woodbridge, 1980; 'Hayllar', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, http://www.groveart.com (accessed 22 March 2002).