Artist Info – Louis van Staaten (AKA Norris Fowler Willatt)
Norris Fowler Willatt was born in England in 1859 and was a watercolour landscape painter who lived at Pyrford, near Woking, Surrey, and specialised in painting Dutch canal and town scenes. A self-taught artist, Norris Fowler Willatt first painted the Dutch scenes under his own name, but soon realised that they sold better with a Dutch pseudonym and thus he adopted ‘L. Van Staaten’.
He appeared to have found a ready market for his work and did not exhibit widely, although he did show three watercolours at the Royal Academy under the name of Louis Van Staaten. His first exhibit, from a Wimbledon address, was a view of Dordrecht in 1908 and then he showed two further works in 1913 – another Dordrecht view and ‘The Interior of an old Surrey Farmhouse’.
As well as the Dutch scenes Norris Willatt painted some English landscapes, and these are usually signed under his own name or sometimes ‘Murray Thompson’. These were mostly Surrey landscapes and heath scenes, often featuring a shepherd and sheep. The pictures were usually large in size and the competent style and pleasing subjects have made his work increasingly sought after in recent years.’
Willatt died in 1924.