|Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data
compared to the extensive information about American artists.|
Born in England December 12, 1870, he first went to sea at 16, onboard the ship Astoria, with a cargo of coal bound for Shanghai. He suffered a fall and ended up hospitalized in China, where he took to his passion of painting ships. The downtime provided him the opportunity to earn a second mate’s certificate, and he joined the Blue Anchor Line as a junior officer. He served for seven years, and spent years as a stage actor following this.
Through it all, he painted. His art earned him a position illustrating the covers of The Blue Peter which in turn carried his name to the corners of the earth as a highly accomplished marine artist. Absolutely confident in not only his ability but his knowledge and research, Spurling and the publication offered up $10,000 to anyone who could successfully dispute the rig of one of his paintings. No one ever did. As the international code signal from where the magazine took its name, his art was “ready to sail”. His strengths of composition and detail are unparalleled.
He died in London on 31/5/1933 of emphysema and renal cancer.