Of all the artists that The Tatler reported on, Williams Staples Drown was the most talked about. A landscape painter from New England, Drown studied in Paris, Venice and Maine. He wintered in St. Augustine for several years and spent his summers in Providence, Rhode Island.
“Mr. William Drown, well known in this city, where he has spent his winters for the past eight years, occupies [studio] number three. Two years ago he visited Paris, Venice and other cities, where art, both modern and ancient, may be studied. His work since then, especially sunny skies and light and shade effect, showing that his opportunity was appreciated and improved. Mr. Drown has made a special study of quaint and picturesque bits about this city and the bay, imparting to the old Spanish architecture a foreign air very charming.”
[Tatler, January 20, 1894]
According to The Tatler, Martin Johnson Heade had a Drown painting in his home in St. Augustine (The Tatler, 1893). Not well known today, Drown’s paintings are held by few regional museums but mostly by private collectors.
Author: Whitney Warren Shafer