Born in Gibraltar in September of 1903. William Showell was already fascinated by drawings and paintings when he was a child. His family’s modest means (his father was only a garrison soldier) prevented him from studying to perfect his talent. As a teenager he was, however, able to manage evening classes at the Liverpool School of Art. Still, a grant to study in Rome had to be refused for financial reasons.
In the early Twenties, William Showell went to London, where he worked by day in a commercial art studio and took evening courses at the Bolt Court School. In time, he became one of the best known magazine illustrators in the country, and a frequent exhibitor in group shows. In 1954, he came to Canada. Within a few years, he had abandoned commercial art altogether to concentrate on fine art. After a year in Paris, he returned to Montreal where he worked he had his first one-man show at the Museum of Fine Arts and was well received by the critics.
Gradually, his reputation grew, reaching into the United-States. It is worth nothing that his father was himself a good amateur painter and his grandfather had been professional artists known for their landscapes of the countryside around Cheshire. Painting by William Showell hang in the corporate collections of British Petroleum, Price, the Bank of Montreal, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Royal Bank of Canada, and other companies.