William Bradford grave site

William Bradford (1823-1892)

Marine artist of the “luminist” school, Bradford achieved international fame and was sponsored by European nobility, including Queen Victoria. After failure in the business of dry goods, Bradford built an art studio at the south end of Main Street in 1851. He shared his studio for three years with Dutch painter Albert Van Beest. Bradford raised money for voyages to Labrador and Greenland where he painted and photographed Arctic scenes. After finding fame in Europe, he worked in studios both in New York and in Fairhaven. John Greenleaf Whittier dedicated the poem “Amy Wentworth” to Bradford and lines from the poem are engraved on his grave stone. They read, “Something it has—a flavor of the sea—and the sea’s freedom—which reminds of thee.”

The main grave marker is a large, natural boulder, weighing about four tons, which taken from the shore south of Fort Phoenix. Its face was polished and engraved by stone cutter Edward G. Spooner of Fairhaven. At the head of the grave is a marker engraved with Bradford’s signature. To the right of the maker is a smaller stone that had been brought by Bradford from Greenland during one of his northern voyages. Also buried in the plot are Bradford’s wife, Mary (Breed) Bradford and his daughter Mary E. Bradford.

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