Edwin Hayes
Irish Watercolour Artist, Marine Painter. Biography, Paintings.

Dublin Bay: Gorlston Harbour I

Edwin Hayes RHA (1820-1904)

The Irish watercolourist and marine painter Edwin Hayes was born in Bristol but grew up in Dublin. He studied drawing and painting at the Dublin Society Art School and set his sights on becoming a marine painter, an ambition nurtured and encouraged by living close to Dublin's docks and quays, as well as his personal experience as a trans-Atlantic steward boy and sailor. As a marine artist, he is comparable with his contemporaries like the naval painter, Richard Brydges Beechey HRHA (1808–1895), George Mounsey Atkinson (1806-1884), and the later San Francisco-based painter William Coulter (1849-1936).


Hayes first exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) in 1842, at the age of 22, after which he remained painting in Dublin over the next ten years. Then, in 1852, he went to London to paint under the scene artist Telbin. In 1854, Hayes exhibited "View of the River Liffey and the Custom House" at the British Institution, and the following year he showed at the Royal Academy (RA), continuing to do so for nearly 50 years. In addition, Hayes exhibited at the Society of British Artists and at the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, becoming an Associate in 1860 and a Member in 1863. Meanwhile, Hayes continued submitting to the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) to which he was elected an associate member in 1853 and a member in 1871.

During his career, Hayes painted a large number of marine seascapes and landscapes, as well as ships and boats of all types. Locations for his plein-air painting included the shores and harbours of the English coast, as well as the coasts of France, Spain and Italy. His vast knowledge of and 'eye for' the sea allowed him to capture all aspects of marine activity and scenery, and he is considered one of the outstanding exponents of marine visual art in Ireland.

More Information About Irish Painting

• For details of other marine painters, see: Irish Artists: Paintings and Biographies.
• For more about seascape artists like Edwin Hayes, see: Irish Art Guide.
• For more about marine painting, see: Homepage.

History of Irish Art
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