1846 - 1938
Stephen Parrish was born into a Quaker family in Philadelphia, and despite an early interest in art, did not begin to pursue a career in it until 1877. In 1879, after a rather lackluster attempt at making a living as a painter, Parrish turned to etching, a medium that during the 1870s was attracting a growing and enthusiastic audience in this country. A skilled draftsman, Parrish took easily to the medium, focusing on landscapes and quickly becoming one of the most respected etchers in the region.
Parrish first came to Cape Ann during the summer of 1880, traveling with his family and staying at the Fairview Inn in East Gloucester along with other Philadelphia artists including Cecilia Beaux and Henry R. Poore. Over the course of the next year, he would produce 28 etchings inspired by his time here. In coming years, he would go on to make 14 additional views of Cape Ann before turning back to painting in the early 1890s. Parrish's etchings were based on detailed pencil and ink drawings of which the Cape Ann Museum is fortunate to have several in its permanent collection. Drawings were done by Parrish in situ and later transferred to copper plates for printing.
Stephen Parrish was the father of well known early 20th century artist Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966).