Edwin Austin Abbey Biography
Edwin Austin Abbey, born in Philadelphia, began his training as an artist under Isaac Williams, a portrait and landscape painter who had studied with John Neagle and Christian Schussele, a German-born history painter
Edwin Abbey was a man whose facility for illustration subverted his potential and reputation as a fine artist. A major portion of his career was spent in the fulfillment of illustration and mural commissions. He was fascinated by medieval England and English literature, and was lucky to have an equally interested public. Because of his affiliation with Harper's, Abbey's audience was large.
Abbey's career was driven more by his imagination of historic events than by his direct observation of the light and life around him, for he surely had sufficient ability to place him among the best of his contemporaries. In choosing to be an illustrator of medieval life he satisfied a personal and public interest, rather than breaking new ground as an observer or technician.