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William Trost Richards

(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania/ Newport, Rhode Island / 1833 - 1905)

William Trost Richards was born in Philadelphia and began to draw at a young age. After the death of his father in 1847, he withdrew from Central High School to support his family and worked as a designer of ornamental metal fixtures. Richards and William Stanley Haseltine (1835 - 1900) studied painting with German landscape painter Paul Weber in 1850, and took classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he first exhibited in 1852 and was elected an academician the following year. During the early 1850s he went on sketching trips to the Hudson River Valley in New York and met such noted landscape painters as Frederic Edwin Church, Jasper F. Cropsey, and John F. Kensett. In 1855 he went to Europe and toured the continent and returned to Philadelphia the following year, married, and settled in Germantown.

Early in his career Richards painted forest scenes in the extremely detailed style advocated by John Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelites, and he joined the Society of Truth in Art in 1863. Richards was elected an honorary member of the National Academy of Design in 1862 and a full academician in 1871. Following a second visit to Europe in 1866, Richards began to concentrate on marine subjects, and he achieved fame for his depictions of coastal scenes. He became adept at watercolor and joined the American Watercolor Society in 1874. He lived in Great Britain from 1878 to 1880 and had a studio in London. Subsequently Richards returned to Philadelphia and spent some summers in Atlantic City and Cape May.

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