“[Lemuel] Eldred is thoroughly an artist, for he always sees things with an eye for the beautiful…He doubtless finds relief in painting different things, and paints as he feels; but it is in his marines that we find him at his best, for in these he portrays his liveliest instincts and his most intense passion…he is original in his style, both in selection of subject and treatment, sees nature with his eyes wide-open, and is never uncertain in his vision.”
Fishing with Nets, Schoodic Point, Mt. Desert Island, Maine, may depict the titular island viewed across the narrows from the Schoodic Peninsula and demonstrates the artist’s focus on precisely rendering the fishermen and vessels in the foreground while also paying heed to atmosphere and the play of light in the scene.
 Robinson, Frank Torrey. Living New England Artists: Biographical Sketches. (Boston, MA: Samuel E. Cassino, 1888), pp. 54-55.
More information about this painting...
Born and raised in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, Lemuel D. Eldred was the middle of three sons whose father worked as a boat builder. This early firsthand experience of life among the town’s waterfront greatly influenced his inclination towards marine painting. After training with local amateur portrait painter William Mosher and commercial artist Caleb Purrington during his youth, the latter introduced Eldred to William Bradford, the noted marine painter who, at the time, was painting ship portraits and marine scenes on the Fairhaven side of New Bedford harbor. Bradford took Eldred under his wing and invited his young protégé to accompany him to New York, where Eldred spent the next five years painting in Bradford’s studio and studying at the National Academy of Design. He returned to Massachusetts around 1875 and settled in Boston, where he established his own studio on Bedford Street, and later moved to Pemberton Square.
By the early 1890s, Eldred was dividing his time between Boston and Fairhaven, and eventually purchased his mentor Bradford’s former studio, using it in the summers. His deep interest in history led him to be involved with the Old Dartmouth Historical Society in its early days; he also wrote articles on local history for Fairhaven and New Bedford newspapers.
Eldred exhibited with the National Academy of Design in 1876, but was more involved with the Boston Art Club, where he participated in annual shows between 1876 and 1886. Today Eldred’s work can be found in private collections throughout the south shore of Massachusetts, and in the collections of the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the New Bedford Free Public Library, and Fairhaven Town Hall.
Private collection, Boston, Massachusetts
With Vose Galleries, Boston, inventory no. 29321, January 1989
To private collection, Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts, March 1989 to October 2017
By descent to private collection, Moultonborough, New Hampshire, October 2017 to present
1). (in pencil on top stretcher) Schoodic Point Mt. Desert / (illegible) / L D Eldred
2). (in pencil on top stretcher) –570—Road (?) / $200 / Middleton / Mass