William Gibbons (1841-1886); Polperro, Cornwall; Oil on canvas laid on board, 23-1/4 x 35 inches (59 x 89 cm); Dated 1881
Though known as William Gibbons of Plymouth, the artist was actually born in Exeter. Son of a shoemaker, he moved to Plymouth to work as an artist and married in 1864. He lived for many years in basic conditions by the old commercial wharf, above a smoke house. He was recorded as a likeable character, known for hosting musical evenings and often seen walking around the barbican in a 'stovepipe' hat. Predeceased by two children he ended his days in a mental asylum and is buried in Ford Park cemetery. A member of Plymouth Arts Club from 1872, he painted portraits and landscapes, both coastal and urban, taking a special delight in recording the bustling life of the town and the changing moods of the sea.
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