Thomas P. Anshutz


Edwin Abbey, born in 1852 in Philadelphia, was a self-taught illustrator and muralist. He gained hands-on experience by working at a wood engraver's shop, emerging as an artist during the "Golden Age if Illustration" in the last half of the nineteenth century. Abbey studied briefly at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. In 1872 he went to work for Harper's Publishing and then transferred to England a few years later. It was here that he would remain, illustrating poems and literature with highly precise detail. In 1902 Abbey was appointed official court painter of coronation in Westminster Abbey. Abbey's early work was rooted in naturalism but eventually became more stylized, often depicting flattened figures in a frieze-like arrangement, similar to techniques of Art Noveau. His oil paintings generally favored historical England. Abbey's murals can be seen at the Public Library of Boston, as well as Pennsylvania and Washington. The permanent collection is held in New Haven Connecticut.