Willis, Thomas H. – American Marine & Textile Artist

Thomas H. Willis (American, Connecticutt, 1850-1925) [mixed media marine] painting, The Schooner "Etna", built Millbridge, Maine, 1875, unsigned

p4A ItemID E8875995
Thomas H. Willis oil on canvas with silk work marine painting, Sloop Albert G. Lawson, circa 1880

p4A ItemID E8850877
Thomas H. Willis oil on canvas with silk work marine painting, Steam-Sail Racing Yacht Mayita, circa 1896

p4A ItemID E8850876
American Schooner Yacht. Attributed to Thomas H. Willis. Silk, silk threads and velvet and oil on canvas

p4A ItemID E8849762

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 and velvet in the hulls of his marine paintings. Willis signed many of his paintings with a monogram comprising a “T” over a “W”. His works are represented in many prominent maritime museums including the Mystic Seaport Maritime Museum, The Peabody Museum in Salem, MA and The Mariners Museum in Newport News, VA. He died in New York City in 1912.

Information courtesy of Neal Auction Company, October 2003.

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