William Shayer (1787–1879) was an English landscape painter and figure painter who became prominent during the Victorian era.
A self-taught artist, who began by painting decorations on rush-bottom chairs. He moved on to painting carriages in the town of Guildford, after which he started doing heraldic painting. Ultimately, he began painting oil on canvas and became skilled at portraying woodland scenes with gypsies, people and animals in front of country inns and farm houses, and beach scenes crowded with boats and fishermen.
Shayer was a competent landscape artist, but he is best known as a figure painter. His work is reminiscent in some respects to the paintings of George Morland, another very popular figure painter. Shayer's work though has a depth and brightness to it missing from the paintings of many of his contemporaries. He exhibited at the Royal Academy (6 works), the British Institution (82 works), and at the Suffolk Street Gallery of the Society of British Artists (338 works). He also exhibited in many of the lesser-known Victorian art venues as well. His works are on display at many museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tate Gallery, the Glasgow Art Gallery, and the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art