Born in 1782, William Havell was the son of a drawing master at Reading Grammar School. In 1804 he moved to London, where he exhibited at the Royal Academy and in 1805, he became a foundation member of the Society of Painters in Watercolors. He spent a year touring and painting scenes of the Lake District in 1807.
Havell resigned from the Society of Painters in 1914 and in 1915 his painting ”Walnut Pickers at Petersham”, was rejected from the British Institution. He made a living, for a time, painting portraits of the British establishment in India. From 1828 to 1829 he traveled to Italy with Thomas Uwins and later produced a series of paintings from the drawings and sketches he made on that trip.
Although he was best known for his paintings, Havell did execute a number of prints such as, “Landscape with a Seated Shepherd”, a pen lithograph published by Philip Andre in 1803.