The son of a Baptist deacon, Clement Drew was born in Kingston, Massachusetts in 1806 and eventually settled in Boston. As a young man, in addition to being an artist, he worked as an art dealer, framer, ship carver, librarian and seller of carpets. In the years leading to the Civil War he became active in the Abolitionist movement with William Lloyd Garrison, founder of the New England Anti-Slavery Society, and later the American Anti-Slavery Society.
Influenced by living in a major port city, his earliest paintings portrayed the coastline south of Boston. Depicting marine activity would become a lifelong fascination, and a career that would span nearly 50 years and lead Drew to travel extensively from Maine to the Grand Banks off Newfoundland, and up the west coast to San Francisco. These travels inspired beautiful views—as well as important documentation—of early American seafaring.
Clement Drew’s works can be found in the following collections: