Willis, Thomas H. – American Marine & Textile Artist

Thomas H. Willis (1850-1925)

Born in Connecticut in 1850, the marine artist Thomas Willis worked for a silk embroidery threadmaker in 1870 in Brooklyn. He became one of the finest American marine embroiderers and advertised as the “Inventor and sole maker of silk ware pictures”. He had numerous commissions from yachtsmen, sailors, sea captains, tug and ship companies, and others related to the maritime world. He used silk or satin in the sails [...] Click here to continue reading.


Tordoff, Frederick – English/American Artist

Frederick Tordoff (born 1939)

A New Jersey-based artist, Fred Tordoff specializes in marine and sailing subjects.

Born and raised in a coastal town in England, Tordoff sketched local scenes and landmarks. While studying marine radio and electronics in Yorkshire, he began making paintings of ships in oils as an avocation. He would continue to pursue this dual career, traveling the world as a radio and electronics officer aboard ships and producing paintings of ships, [...] Click here to continue reading.


Smith, Joseph B. & Smith, William S. – American Artists – Marine, Father & Son

Joseph B. Smith (1798-1876) & William S. Smith (1821- ?)

A master of nautical ship portraits, Joseph B. Smith was born in New York City in 1798, and trained for the printing trade. His son and partner in many paintings, William S., was born in 1821.

Joseph’s earliest known work was a lithograph of his printing depicting the clipper ship Mechanic’s Own. His earliest known painting was the 1849 portrait of the Steamer Hartford [...] Click here to continue reading.


Silva, Francis Augustus

Francis Augustus Silva (1835 to 1886)

Silva began painting when he was apprenticed to a sign painter in his native New York. Despite receiving no formal art education, he launched his fine art career in 1865 and by 1868 was included in the National Academy of Design’s annual exhibition.

Although Fitz Hugh Lane and Martin Johnson Heade are often heralded as the leaders of the Luminist movement, Silva has come to be recognized as [...] Click here to continue reading.


Lane, Fitz Hugh (Henry) – American Artist

Fitz Hugh (Henry) Lane (1804 to 1865)

Fitz Henry Lane was one of the foremost American marine painters of the nineteenth century. He was born in 1804 in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and spent much of his youth sketching the Cape Ann shore. He apprenticed with William S. Pendleton, the Boston lithography firm, in the early 1830′s, specializing in topographic views. In the 1840′s Lane probably saw the works of Robert Salmon and Washington Allston in [...] Click here to continue reading.


Norton, William Edward – American Artist

William Edward Norton (1843-1916)

William Edward Norton grew up in Boston, studied at the Lowell Institute and later with George Inness. He went to sea as a teenager (his family owned ships) and his experiences there led him to favor marine subjects throughout his career.

In 1868, Norton went to Paris to continue his studies, and eventually settled in London. He exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy and at the Paris Salon. He returned [...] Click here to continue reading.


Lever, Richard Hayley – Australian/American Artist

Richard Hayley Lever (1876-1958)

Richard Hayley Lever best known as a Post-Impressionist of marine scenes, he was born in Australia, and moved to London in 1893. He settled at St. Ives in Cornwall in 1900, where he painted marine scenes. For the next ten years, the modified impressionist style he developed brought him much recognition in Europe. In 1911, New England painter Ernest Lawson persuaded him to emigrate to the United States and Lever [...] Click here to continue reading.


Jacobsen, Antonio Nicolo Gaspara – American Nautical Artist

Antonio Jacobsen

Born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1850, Antonio Nicolo Gaspara Jacobsen studied art at the Royal Academy of Design in Copenhagen and came to New York City in 1871 to avoid being drafted into the Franco-Prussian War.

To earn money, Jacobsen decorated safe doors for the Marvin Safe Company and began painting ship portraits for the Old Dominion Steamship Line. His reputation grew to the point that he was widely regarded as one [...] Click here to continue reading.


Hermaphrodite Brig – definition

Hermaphrodite Brig

A hermaphrodite brig, or brig-schooner, is a two-masted sailing ship whose foremast is fully rigged with square sails while rigged with fore-and-aft sails on the mainmast. It combines the two main types of sail plan, hence the term hermaphrodite.

The hermaphrodite brig is distinguished from a brigantine in having exclusively fore-and-aft sails on the mainmast, while the brigantine has one or more square sails on the main topmast, above a gaff [...] Click here to continue reading.


Gutta Percha – definition

Gutta Percha

Gutta percha is defined as a tough plastic substance made from the latex of several Malaysian trees (generally Payena and Palaquium) of the sapodilla family that resembles rubber but contains more resin, and is used especially as insulation and in dentistry.


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