James Bowman (1793-1842)
The first know painter in Erie, Pennsylvania, James Bowman was born in Allegheny County in 1793 and grew up in Mercer, Pennsylvania. Initially he worked as a carpenter in Chillicothe, Ohio and likely his initial instruction in painting came from J.T. Turner (a portrait, sign and ornamental painter) around 1815. At the age of 24 he settled in Erie and set up a studio in the Duncan Hotel where he specialized in portraits. He apparently also lived in Pittsburgh for a number of years before leaving for Europe in 1822 for further study.
In London he was a pupil of Sir Thomas Lawrence, president of the Royal Academy of London, who regarded him as an artist of rare prom
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