Walter Shaw Sparrow (1862–1940) was a British writer on art and architecture with a special interest in British sporting artists.
Sparrow was born in 1862, younger son of James Sparrow JP FGS (1824–1902) and his wife Caroline (1828–1904), of Gwersyllt Hill, near Wrexham, Wales. In 1855, James Sparrow had become proprietor of Ffrwd Works, a large colliery, ironworks and brickworks between Brymbo and Cefn-y-bedd which he expanded into one of the most prominent businesses in North Wales. During his boyhood Sparrow got to know many of his father's colliers, furnacemen, blacksmiths, carpenters and farm workers, and gained a respect and admiration for the men he described as "so big, strong, simple-hearted, and kind". He made a study of the cruel conditions endured by coal miners and the fact that nationally over a thousand colliers were killed every year in accidents, and this engendered in him a desire to see fairness for working men.