Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait

Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait

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Pencil and gouache on paper, signed 'A.F.T.', bottom left

Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait, 1819-1905

American artist who is known mostly for his paintings of wildlife. During most of his career, he was associated with the New York City art scene.

Tait was born in Lively Hall near Liverpool, England. At eight years old, because his father went bankrupt, he was sent to live with relatives in Lancaster. It is during that time that he became attached to animals. Later on, in Manchester, England, Agnew & Zanetti Repository of Art acquired Arthur Tait who began self-learning to paint, as a twelve-year-old. His work consisted mostly of reproduced lithography that were exposed for Agnew's exhibitions. In 1838, he left the Agnew lithography reproduction business to marry.

During the late 1840s, he became aware of the Americas while attending a George Catlin exhibition in Paris. He immigrated to the United States in 1850, where he established a small painting camp in the Adirondacks to paint during summer. Starting in 1852, Currier & Ives reproduced lithographies of his works to publicize him. What also promoted his talent was exhibitions held at the National Academy of Design, New York during the late 19th century showing more than 200 of his paintings. In 1858, he was elected to full membership of the Academy.

He was identified with the art life of New York until his death at Yonkers, New York. He painted barnyard fowl and wild birds as well as sheep and deer, with great dexterity, and reproductions of his minute panels of chickens had an enormous vogue.

American Art Annual, Volume 5, 1905; Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.), Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911).

Citation: An Extensive study of the Victorian Era: Step back into an age of paradox and power; The Victorian age was not one, not single, or simple. The Victorian Era. Accessed March 20, 2020.