Formed in the latter half of 18th century Western Europe, Romanticism was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement which competed against neoclassicism. It increased in popularity during the Industrial Revolution as It was partly a reaction against the scientific rationalisation of nature and the industrialisation of the landscape. It was also a challenge to the political and social situations of the time.
Romanticism incorporated strong emotions into its artworks - for example, in landscapes which gave the viewer a sense of awe or even fear when he looked into them. The theme of nature untamed was a common one in the Romantic movement. It also encouraged nationalism, valuing people's traditions, folklore and language.
Romanticism left behind the rational and Classical models, turning instead to more exotic styles and the use of imagination to create an escape from the ever growing cities and the increasing sprawl of industrialisation.
Artistic skill ran in Ward's family. His granddaughter Henrietta Ward was a successful painter and his great-grandson Leslie Ward was a caricaturist