William Bell Scott (1811–1890) was a Scottish artist in oils and watercolour and occasionally printmaking. He was also a poet and art teacher, and his posthumously published reminiscences give a chatty and often vivid picture of life in the circle of the Pre-Raphaelites; he was especially close to Dante Gabriel Rossetti. After growing up in Edinburgh, he moved to London, and from 1843 to 1864 was principal of the government School of Art in Newcastle upon Tyne, where he added industrial subjects to his repertoire of landscapes and history painting. He was one of the first British artists to extensively depict the processes of the Industrial Revolution. He returned to London, working for the Science and Art Department until 1885.
He painted a cycle of historical subjects mixed with scenes from modern industry for Wallington Hall in Northumberland (now National Trust), his best known works, and a purely historical cycle for Penkill Castle in Ayrshire in Scotland.
He did not paint many portraits, but his striking portrait of his friend Algernon Charles Swinburne is the iconic image of the poet. His etchings were mostly designed to illustrate his books.
Artist as subject