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Harrison Bird Brown   Click Images to Enlarge

Harrison Bird Brown
The Coast of Monhegan, Maine
Oil on canvas
20 x 14 in.
ca. 1875
Harrison Bird Brown

(American, 1831-1915)

Harrison Bird Brown is one of Maine's most famous marine painters from the 19th century. He was born Henry Box Brown in Portland, Maine in 1831 and began his career as a sign and banner painter in Portland and opened his own shop and hung the sign "H.B. Brown, Banner and Ornamental Painter." By 1852, he moved to San Francisco, California and was employed in Harrison Eastman's engraving shop and made survey drawings for John Bartlett. During the 1850s he changed his name from "Henry Box" to "Harrison Bird" Brown. By 1858, he was exhibiting landscapes at the National Academy (NY) and moved back to Maine in 1860, painting along the coast and at Monhegan Island.

Brown was a member of the Portland Society of Art (through 1892). Somewhat reclusive and shy, Brown did not like to join clubs or exhibit extensively. He preferred painting the shores of Maine in all kinds of weather conditions, but for some unknown reason he became an expatriate in 1892 and moved to London, England, where he died in 1915. Nevertheless, the paintings of the coast of Maine and Monhegan Island left their mark and Maine celebrated his ability as a marine painter.

He exhibited at the National Academy of Design (New York City, 1858-1875), at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art (1876); the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition (1876) and in Boston and London, England.


References: Groce & Wallace; Mantle Fielding, Dictionary of American Artists…; "Maine Artists," Art Annual XII, obituary; National Academy of Design Annual Records (list him as "Harry"); Thieme-Becker and Hutton and Clements call him "Henry B. Brown;" Hughes, Artists in California; Campbell, New Hampshire Scenery; and more.