The name John Stobart is pre-eminent in the world of maritime art. Born in 1929 in Leicester, England, he showed an early aptitude for creativity. His Father recognized his son’s talent for art and enrolled him in Derby College of Art in 1946. In this new environment he achieved high honors and a county scholarship to London’s prestigious Royal Academy. As a student he began to exhibit small landscapes painted in the countryside outside London and along the River Thames.
After graduation Stobart sailed to South Africa. During his voyage he sketched the twelve exotic ports at which the passenger-cargo ship was anchored. Here the idea came to him to borrow the plans for the vessels being built. Using the plans and the sketches from his voyage as backgrounds, he painted the new vessels and sold the originals to the shipping companies. Within two years his paintings of ships in foreign ports hung on the walls of some fifteen shipping company board rooms in London.
In 1957 Stobart immigrated to Canada where he developed the interests of shipping companies along the St. Lawrence River. In 1965 he came to New York with four paintings of sailing ships he hoped would be well received at a few chosen galleries. He was offered a one-man show by the Wunderlich family, founders of the Kennedy Galleries, who also encouraged him to pursue his notion to recreate the American harbor scenes in the days of the great clipper era. Over the next fifteen years the Wunderlich’s hosted another seven one-man shows, all virtual sell outs. In the years to follow, the name Stobart would become synonymous with the rediscovery of the nation’s lost ports.
Because his original paintings were going into private collections, Stobart initiated the idea of publishing limited edition prints of some of his more important works. He did this so more people would be able to enjoy his scenes.