Elisha Taylor Baker (N/A) American
Elisha Baker was a marine painter with first-hand knowledge of his subject. Born in New York City, he spent his formative years with his extended family in the whaling ports of Connecticut. He married a local woman in 1851, and likely joined in the lucrative whale oil and baleen trades.
He first formally registered as an artist back in New York City in 1868. This occupation change was likely prompted by the heavy destruction inflicted upon the northern whaling fleets during the American Civil War. The dozens of known works by Baker indicate the shift was profitable and, artistically speaking, highly merited. His early works are often attributed to him, while he later signed ‘E. Taylor Baker’, ‘E.T. Baker’ and developed a distinct intertwined initial monogram by the late 1880s.
He painted in the draftsman style of his later contemporaries, proving to be a prominent influence toward many of their professions. Still, he enhanced his works with flashes of luminescence, which progressed from the Hudson River School through the works of Fitz Hugh Lane and William Bradford.
Not favoring any particular style of ship, he painted all types. His best known work is of the new London whaleship George, captained by his relative, William M. Baker.