Harrison Bird Brown was born in Portland, Maine in 1831.
Ships in Casco Bay, oil on canvas, 25" x 48" (image), 32.5" x 55.5" (with frame), sll
He began his artistic career as a sign and banner painter, first completing an apprenticeship with the Portland firm of Forbes and Wilson and then opening his own firm. While still a young man, he left the sign business to concentrate on fine art, and during the 1860's specialized in "homestead" portaits: paintings of the homes of prominent men. Eventually, however, Brown turned to the dramatic seascapes for which he is well known today. He maintained a home on Cushing Island in Portland's Casco Bay, though at times he made sketching trips into the White Mountains of New Hampshire. A trip across Europe in 1871 also provided him subjects for many subsequent years. Brown lived in Portland until 1892 / 93, when he moved to London to be with his daughter. He died in London in 1915.
Works by Harrison Bird Brown can be found in the collections of the Portland Museum of Art, the Farnsworth Art Museum, the St. Louis Art Museum, the Georgia Museum of Art, the Peabody Essex Museum, the Butler Institute, and others. Brown's work was the subject of an 2007 exhibit at the Portland Museum of Art entitled "Vividly True to Nature: Harrison Bird Brown, 1831 – 1915" and featuring over 40 works by the painter.