Walter Greaves (1846–1930), boat builder and painter, the son of Charles William Greaves, a Chelsea boat builder and waterman, and his wife, Elizabeth Greenway, was born on 4 July 1846 at 31 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea.
He and his brother became studio assistants to James McNeil Whistler and were taught by him to paint.
In 1911 an exhibition of Greaves's paintings closed after he was accused of passing off unfinished works by Whistler as his own. His reputation ruined, it was not until 1921 that he was rescued from penury by prominent artists including Augugtus John and William Nicholson.
The brothers were struggling financially when a friend secured a commission to decorate the Streatham Hall. "For nearly 20 years they walked from their home at Chelsea to Streatham,, several days in the week, summer and winter, attired in their well-known garb, viz., silk hat and frock-coat, with cuffs much in evidence, wearing pink and yellow ties respectively"
Images Walter Greaves by Powys Evans 1928 © National Portrait Gallery and Portrait of James Abbott Mcneill Whistler by Walter Greaves.
(Source Christian Brinton and Tom Pocock)