About William Warner Major
Born in Bristol, England, Major was a self trained or minimally schooled painter when he was converted to the L.D.S. Church in London in 1842. In winter of 1844, he and his family left England for America, and finally arrived at Nauvoo in spring 1845.
Once in Illinois, the Majors became well acquainted with the authorities of the L.D.S. Church, and William was extensively employed by them as an artist. Under Brigham Young's leadership, both the importance and material progress of Nauvoo continued briefly, and in the neoclassical and even palatial setting for Brigham Young, Mary Ann Angell Young and Family (oil on canvas, L.D.S. Church), Major presented something grander yet.
The artist carried that unfinished picture to Winter Quarters in 1846, and was assigned to paint and sketch views on the way to Utah. Then, following his September 1847 arrival in Great Salt Lake City, Major purchased property and spent the next five years there while making visits to various spots in the surrounding countryside to paint landscape scenes and portraits of other settlers as well as pictures of the indigenous Indian population. Then, on April 6, 1853, Major was called on a mission to England for the L.D.S. Church; on October 2, 1854, he died there, not all that far away from where he came from. His remains were shipped back to Utah.
Biography courtesy Springville Museum of Art.