Lights of the Aurora

by William Bradford (1823–1892)
Oil on board
13½ x 19 15/16 inches
Signed lower right: W Bradford


The artist

Joseph Henry Hatfield, acquired from above

Private collection, by descent in the family

Private collection, New York, New York, acquired from above, by 2007


Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, To the Ends of the Earth, Painting the Polar Landscape, November 8, 2008–March 1, 2009


Samuel Scott et al., To the Ends of the Earth: Painting the Polar Landscape (Salem, MA: Peabody Essex Museum, 2008), 46, 47.

Note: William Bradford is known for his ability to capture light in his luminous arctic scenes. Bradford undertook numerous northern expeditions beginning in 1861, which allowed him to experience these striking views first-hand.

Joseph Henry Hatfield (1863–1928) was an impressionist painter who found success in his landscape and figure paintings. He exhibited his work at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 as well as at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1894. In his later years, Hatfield devoted himself to developing a paint that would not grow darker as it aged to preserve works of art for years to come.

Artist Biography

By Jenny Lyubomudrova

I. Biography
II. Chronology
III. Collections
IV. Exhibitions
V. Memberships
VI. Notes
VII. Suggested Resources

I. Biography

William Bradford is known as one of the preeminent maritime painters of the nineteenth century. He began his career painting whaleships in the port of New Bedford, quickly garnering a reputation for his talent in depicting naval architecture with incredible accuracy. His journeys to northern locations such as Grand Manan and the Bay of Fundy, followed by his numerous expeditions to the Arctic, established him as the “Painter of the Polar World” and brought him international acclaim.

Bradford was born on April 30, 1823 in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. A descendent of

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