American sea painter William Pierce Stubbs was born in Bucksport, Maine in 1842. As the son of sea captain Reuben Stubbs his childhood years were filled with a fascination for the sea and the great sailing ships that worked their way along the Maine coast. Little is known about the early period of his life, but from the knowledgeable quality shown in his skilled ship portraits, it is evident that he served at least some time at sea.
With no formal art training, Stubbs achieved considerable success as a ship's portraitist. In 1876, after moving to Charlestown, Massachusetts, he opened his first studio in Boston. He was painting marine portraits exclusively by 1877. At the international maritime exhibition in Boston in 1890 his work was noted for its straightforward style depicting detailed and accurate broadside views of his subjects.
In 1894 the artist developed a growing melancholia and was committed to the Worcester state hospital where he died in 1909. Today, Stubbs' paintings are considered fine examples of americana, capturing the heart of 19th century America's growing sea power. They have found an appreciative public and are widely represented in museums and private collections nationwide.