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biography of William Gay YORKE (1817-1892)

Birth place: England

Profession: Marine painter

Work: Mystic (CT) Seaport Mus.; New-York Hist. Soc.; Peabody Mus., Salem; Sailors' Snug Harbor, Staten Island, NY; Phila. Maritime Mus. (owns latest known oil, dated 1892)

Comments: Father of William H. Yorke, he left Liverpool, England, in 1870 to continue his career in ship portraiture in Brooklyn. He lived aboard his sailboat, which explains why many of his works are inscribed verso with different addresses. Later, his boat sank in a collision with a steamboat, and the accident caused him to lose an eye. Having lost all belongings, he was impoverished, and lived in a shanty he built on a canal boat in Brooklyn. The owner of the steamship which had rammed his sailboat eventually provided lodging for him and his family on one of his boats docked at Staten Island.

Sources: article, A.J. Peluso, in Maine Antique Digest (Aug., 1990, p.28E); 300 Years of American Art, 176


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