Biography: Born in Connecticut, the painter, illustrator, writer, and printmaker George Wharton Edwards (1859-1950) began painting by 1880, often at the Monhegan (Maine) art colony.
As a painter, he became known for his Impressionist style and for his marine paintings of fishermen and boats along the Monhegan shoreline. He studied art in Antwerp and in Paris (1881-1884). He resided primarily in New York from 1892 to 1902.
Edwards was Art Director for Collier's (1896-1903) and manager of the Art Department for the American Bank Note Company (1904-1912). A prolific author, he wrote over 60 illustrated books, many on travel and historical subjects. By 1910, he began to specialize in writing and illustrating gift travel books. In 1928, he visited Turkey to record scenes exotic to many American readers. For many years, he was associated with the art colony at Cos Cob, CT.
Edwards' mural Henrik Hudson resides at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He illustrated Oliver Wendell Holmes' Last Leaf; Austin Dobson’s Sun Dial and Old English Ballads and travel books on London (1921); Paris (1924); Rome (1928) and more. He was the author of Vanished Halls and Cathedrals of France; Vanished Towers & Chimes of Flanders; Marken and Its People; Some Old Flemish Towns; Holland of Today and many other books.
Edwards was an Associate of the National Academy and a member of the American Water Color Society; the National Institute of Arts and Letters; Allied American Artists, and Painters and the Sculptors' Gallery Association. He won medals in Boston (1884 and 1890) for drawing and at the 1901 Buffalo Exposition for painting. He was also awarded prizes at the 1902 South Carolina Exposition. He won the (Belgian) King Albert gold medal in 1920, and the Golden Palms of the French Academy in 1921.
Edwards was made Knight Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor (1925), and knighted in the Order de la Couronne Belge (1927), the Spanish Order of Isabella (1928), and the Royal Order of the Crown of Italy (1929), for achievements in painting historical writing.