William Jackson was the son of an Exeter grocer who after grammar school studied music under John Travers at the Chapel Royal; he was a successful composer and was organist of Exeter Cathedral (1777-1803). In his capacity as a landscape painter Jackson was a friend of Thomas Gainsborough. Among his musical compositions were settings of Lycidas (1767), Pope's "Dying Christian to his Soul," Joseph Warton's "Ode to Fancy," and an opera to a libretto by General John Burgoyne.
Lycidas, a musical entertainment. 1767.
The lord of the manor. 1780.
The metamorphosis. 1783.
Thirty letters on various subjects. 2 vols, 1783; with additions, 1795.
Observations on the present state of music in London. 1791.
The four ages; together with essays on various subjects. 1798.