Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait1819 - 1905
Born: August 5, 1819, Livesey Hall, near Liverpool
Died: April 28, 1905, Yonkers, New York
Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait was born near Liverpool, England, as the son of a maritime merchant. At the age of eight, when his father faced financial destitution, Tait was sent to live with relatives in the country outside of Lancaster. There he discovered a love for animals, nature, hunting, and fishing that inspired him throughout his life. Tait first became curious about America upon seeing George Catlin's traveling exhibition of Indian portraits and artifacts in Paris in the late 1840s. He was so intrigued by Catlin's interpretation of the American West that he left for the United States in 1850. Although he settled in New York City, Tait spent much of his time in the Adirondack Mountains painting landscapes, wildlife, and sportsmen. His romantic and dramatic depictions of life in the Adirondacks were enormously popular throughout the pre-Civil War era. Although he never traveled farther west than the Adirondacks, Tait is considered one of the principal painters of the American frontier along with artists George Catlin, William Ranney, and Karl Bodmer. During his career, Tait illustrated approximately thirty-six prints for the renowned Currier and Ives Lithographers. His specialty, however, was medium-sized, moderately priced animal paintings, which he produced in great numbers. Despite changing trends in the art world, Tait enjoyed a steady clientele until his death at eighty-five.