Born and raised in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, Lemuel D. Eldred was the middle of three sons whose father worked as a boat builder. This early firsthand experience of life among the town’s waterfront greatly influenced his inclination towards marine painting.
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After training with local amateur portrait painter William Mosher and commercial artist Caleb Purrington during his youth, the latter introduced Eldred to William Bradford, the noted marine painter who, at the time, was painting ship portraits and marine scenes on the Fairhaven side of New Bedford harbor. Bradford took Eldred under his wing and invited his young protégé to accompany him to New York, where Eldred spent the next five years painting in Bradford’s studio and studying at the National Academy of Design. He returned to Boston around 1875 and established his own studio on Bedford Street, which he later moved to Pemberton Square.
Possibly from a private dealer (illegible ledger entry)
With Vose Galleries, Boston, inventory no. 21945, October 1959
To private collection, Boston, Massachusetts, April 1967
By descent through the family to grandson of the collector, Brockton, Massachusetts