Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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BRADFORD, William, painter, born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1827. He is of Quaker parentage, and was brought up to mercantile business, but practiced painting in his leisure hours, and in middle life, after failing in business, adopted it as a profession. He began by painting ships at Lynn and in other harbors, and became known as a careful and accurate portrayer of all varieties of vessels. He then made extensive studies of the coast scenery of New England and British North America as far as Labrador, and with the same fidelity to detail that characterized his delineations of shipping painted picturesque sketches of coast not before visited by artists. In depicting the forms and motions of waves and the aspect of the sea in storms, he produced realistic effects not obtained by previous painters. His accuracy of observation and drawing are best seen in his studies in colors and India ink; for his painted canvases have not the variety of his sketches, and are somewhat hard in manner, although he improved in his handling of the brush and the use of pigments through two years' association with Van Beest, with whom he occupied the same studio in Fairhaven. Subsequently Mr. Bradford extended his studies to the Arctic regions. With Dr. Hayes and others he made excursions to the ice fields of the North Atlantic, in a vessel chartered by him, and sketched floes and bergs and the coast scenery of the frozen regions. The ice-scenes that he painted from these studies attracted attention both in England and America. His "Steamer Panther among Icebergs and Field-Ice in Melville Bay, under the Light of the Midnight Sun," was purchased by Queen Victoria, and was exhibited with her permission at the royal academy in 1875. Among his other notable works are "Fishing-Boats in the Bay of Fundy"; "Shipwreck off Nantucket"; "Lighthouse in St. John Harbor"; "Fishing-Boats getting under Way"; "The Island of Grand Menan"; "Fishing-Boats at Anchor"; "Sudden Squall in the Bay of Fundy"; "A Stiff Breeze at the Harbor of Eastport"; "The Coast of Labrador"; "Crushed by Icebergs"; "Boarding the Sloop"; and "Sunset in the North" and "Arctic Scene," exhibited in the national academy, New York, in 1886.
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