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 T. Bailey  (19/20th century)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts      Known for: marine painting

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BIOGRAPHY for T. Bailey
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Massachusetts

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marine painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from Peter Kostoulakos, AOA, NEAA:  Fine Art Consultant, www.pkart.com

T. Bailey

T. Bailey, the pseudonym of several artists associated with the Massachusetts communities around Cape Ann, who painted for the tourist trade during the early to mid-20th century.  After 1910 a large number of marine paintings by unknown artist "T. Bailey" flooded the market — all sold by an artist's representative/dealer by the name of Morris Hambro (1860-1938).  William Frederick Paskell (1866-1951) has been suggested as being one of the painters of "T. Bailey's works.  Davenport's Art Reference has him listed as Bailey, T. (William Paskell 1866-1961) whose subject matter consisted of harbors, docks, ships, and elk.  It has been thought that Paskell used two pseudonyms: T. Bailey and H. H. Howe.

Falk’s Who Was Who In American Art states that T. Bailey was a fictitious painter, a pseudonym invented by Morris Hambro, a London-born sign painter and salesman who came to America in 1865 and started pedaling the Bailey paintings after 1910.  It is not certain whether the artists were aware of and/or participated in his scheme, but it seems clear that Hambro purchased only unsigned works, to which he would affix the Bailey signature.  Hambro generally paid $15 to $20 for a painting which he then sold for $50. The most popular paintings were those of a tall ship with unfurled sails, which Hambro sold door-to-door, mostly to businesses, on his travels to Boston, Worcester, New Bedford, Portland, Maine, Cape Cod, and Fall River.  Many artists have been linked to T. Bailey’s work.  Some mentioned are Vivian Forsythe Porter (c.1880-1982); Max Berman (died 1918), was married to Hambro’s niece; Sears Thompson, a marine painter whose ships are very much like the one’s in the T. Bailey paintings; John Greenleaf Cloudman (1813-1892); Mae Bennet Brown (1887-1973); Melbourne H. Hardwick, of Nova Scotia (1857-1916); William Frederick Paskell (1886-1951); and possibly, William F. Porter (1808-1874).

Roberta (Howe) Baumgartner, granddaughter of H. H. Howe, and her daughter Martha Vincent, great granddaughter of H. H. Howe, disputed some of the above statements.  With published newspaper articles and advertisements, they proved that there really was an artist by the name of Captain T. Bailey Howe.  Howe taught his son, Harry Hambro Howe to paint.  According to Roberta, Harry’s middle name was the result of taking on the last name of his stepfather.  Harry Hambro Howe is the son of Capt. T. Bailey Howe, and the grandson of H. Howe.  The articles and ads pertain to H. H. Howe (Harry Hambro Howe) and make reference to his father and grandfather.  The newspaper clippings were saved in the attic of Meta Singleton Howe, Harry Hambro Howe’s wife.  While doing my research Roberta and Martha wrote to me and their information is stated below:

Martha Vincent sent the following information to me in 2004:

“Allow me to share what I know from a few stories and published news articles.  My name is Martha Vincent.  My great grandfather was Harry Hambro Howe.  He died when I was five years old, but I remember him as strange old man in a wheelchair, who loved giving me rides. He was a stroke victim at some point, and didn't paint after that, to my knowledge.

According to the paperwork I have, one newspaper clipping from Sunday, February 4, 1940, from the Houston Chronicle, Harry Hambro Howe's exhibit was opening the following day in the Rose Room of the Rice Hotel. The article states that Mr. Howe spent most of his life on the New England coast and the sea was in his blood, for his father was Capt. T. Bailey Howe, master of a Nantucket whaler, the Isabella.  The elder Mr. Howe also was an artist, and taught his son how to paint.

This story coincides with everything I was told as a child. I have another clipping from an advertisement my great grandfather did for Devoe artists' materials.  In his promotional blurb for the company Harry writes, "I find Devoe Artists' Oil Colors give the best results.  And I know that they hold up beautifully, because both my father and grandfather used Devoe colors exclusively.  Paintings they did many decades ago are, today, as brilliant as ever — free from any signs of fading or cracking."

I do not have any of either of the two elder Howe's paintings, but I do have three of Harry's paintings.  My interest in sharing this information is two fold.  I wish to assist in clarifying a few historical points, but also hope that perhaps you can help me to obtain further information on the elder Howe artists, and maybe even find some of their work.  I have never been able to find paintings by either of the elder Howes.”

Roberta Howe Baumgartner wrote in 2004:

“I am the granddaughter of Harry Hambro Howe. My grandfather was an artist with a home in Buckfield, Maine. You might start your investigation there. The last time I spoke to the Buck family he was going to be in the family history book. He painted all summer and traveled in the winter selling his paintings. He would stop in Ann Arbor at my parent's home. He carried the paintings in cardboard tubes they were of landscapes and ships. I have some in my home here in Joliet, Illinois.  My father was Charles Leroy Howe and he was an only child.  My grandmother Meta Singleton Howe (Harry's wife) and grandpa traveled to art shows where he sold his paintings. He also painted for the DuPont Corp. and did custom paintings for large business offices.  One time I remember him saying he returned to an office and some one had added a bird in the tree, I asked him if he was offended and was told NO as long as they paid for it they could add what they wanted.  Grandpa had a stroke in 1958 and was brought to live with us in Ann Arbor he died 10 years later and is buried in the local cemetery.  Not only did he paint but also his father T. Bailey Howe taught him.  He was seen in ads for Devoe paints in National Geographic back in the "30's" I have two ships that look at you as you pass also.”

Another good source of information is David Wasserman.  According to David, his grandmother, Estelle Wasserman remembers her father, artist Max Berman, as the source of T. Bailey paintings.  Estelle (age 95 as of April 2009) tells the story of her uncle Morris Hambro having her father paint as T. Bailey — purchasing the paintings for next to nothing and reselling them for a profit.  “What I've now discovered,” says David, “is there may be multiple T. Bailey's but I'm still not sure that's the case.”

The mystery of T. Bailey continues…

Bailey is represented in the collections of the Whistler House Museum of Art; the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum; the Chicago Historical Society; the United States Naval Academy Museum; and the Nantucket Historical Society.

References:
Who Was Who in American Art, 1999, page 175; Davenport's Art Reference, 2006/2007 Edition, page 130; Smithsonian Institution Research Information System; Whistler House Museum of Art files; The Roger King Gallery of Fine Art; John Henderson, White Mountain Art Biographer.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
T. Bailey is a fictitious name for a a marine and ship painter, made up by Morris Hambro (1860-1938).  British born, Hambro was a sign painter and salesman who came to the U.S. in 1865 and began selling T. Bailey paintings up and down the East Coast after 1910.  A typical T. Bailey painting shows a tall ship in the high seas, sail unfurled.  Several artists' names are associated with these paintings, including Vivian Forsythe Porter, Max Berman, Sears Thompson, J.G. Cloudman, Mae Bennet Brown, Melbourne C. Hardwick and most notably, William Frederick Paskell.

Hambro sold the paintings mostly to businesses, traveling from Boston to Worcester, Portland, Maine and Cape Cod.  Extremely successful, Hambro sold many of the paintings to galleries as well, and they were hanging in boardrooms from Boston to New York.

Sources include:
Falk, Peter Hastings (Editor). Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.

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