Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait was born in Liverpool, England, in 1819. He would eventually become one of the first important sporting artists in America. The beginnings of his art career can be traced back to a lithographer position he trained for at Agnews, which was an art dealer in Manchester, England. Copying works at the Royal Institute was how this artist went about teaching himself to paint. Eventually he would be drawn to the United States where he would create from both a camp in the mountains of upstate New York, as well as from a studio in New York City. Never having made it further west than Chicago, Mr. Tait died in Yonkers, New York, in 1905.
At the age of 31, Mr. Tait found his way to America. What precipitated his desire to move to America was his interest in wildlife and hunting. These sports were out-of-reach for commoners in aristocratic England. One of his original contacts with an American artist was when he assisted George Caitlin, who had a traveling Indian art gallery. Mr. Tait was impressed with the work of Caitlin, and with how he characterized subject matter through his work. His awareness of the Americas was a result of attending this exhibition in Paris where he was first exposed to George Caitlin's work. So inspired by this experience, he set out for the United States in 1850, within just one year of his exposure to Caitlin's work.
Once in the United States, he set up a small studio in the Adirondacks, surrounded by the wildlife and hunting opportunities that drove him to immigrate. It was in at this camp he set up in the Adirondacks, surrounded by the majesty of such natural beauty, that Mr. Tait set about creating a portfolio of highly-regarded work. Exposure to his work was fostered by Currier & Ives who reproduced his works, serving to garner much notoriety for this relatively unknown artist who had been in the country for just over a year. His work was also displayed at exhibitions at the National Academy of Design.
His paintings were mainly of the wildlife he was so interested in, like barnyard fowl, birds and sheep. Life on the Prairie, The Buffalo Hunt is one of his more famous works that was lithographed by Currier & Ives. The Reprimand, completed in 1852, on display at the Brooklyn Museum, portrays a girl warning a deer. This is one of his most noteworthy paintings. This artist who began teaching himself how to paint at the age of 12, would go on to become one of that centuries most well-known artists who lived a long-life, especially by 20th century standards, dying at the ripe old age of 85.