Robert Salmon was born in Whitehaven, a port situated on the northwest coast of England. Although his artistic beginnings are unknown, his career can be divided into two periods. Between 1800 and 1828 he lived in England and Scotland, and his work faithfully recorded the environs of Liverpool and Greenock. Salmon's style at this time reflected the influence of Dutch maritime painters. In many of his paintings, he adopted the low horizon and clear, sparkling light effects typical of Dutch seascapes.
After 1828 Salmon moved to Boston. Although he was regarded as an eccentric, solitary man, he was highly thought of as an artist, and he soon became a leading maritime painter in the area. His paintings were admired for their detailed panoramic views of Boston's wharves and shorelines. While in Boston, Salmon also worked in the lithography studio of William S. Pendleton with Fitz Hugh Lane, during which time his maritime paintings became a model for Lane's work.
[This is an excerpt from the interactive companion to the videodisc American Art from the National Gallery of Art.]