Born in Philadelphia on November 14, 1833, William Trost Richards, one of the most important American artists of the 19th Century, was a pupil of Paul Weber. Other travels took him abroad to England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Scotland, Switzerland, and Wales.
He began to paint marine subjects in 1867, and from 1874 spent his summers in Newport, Rhode Island, where he settled permanently in 1890.
The artist received a medal at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia In 1876; the Temple Medal from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts 1885, and a bronze medal at the Paris Exposition in 1889. Richards was a member of the American Watercolor Society and an honorary member of the National Academy of Design, where he exhibited from 1861 to 1899.
In 1883, the Corcoran Art Gallery in Washington, D.C. commissioned him to paint "On the Coast of New Jersey".
Richards was honored with a retrospective exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1973. He has been accorded a central position in the 19th century Luminist Tradition of American Art.
His work is represented in the collections of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Brooklyn Museum, the Newark Museum, Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University, St. Louis Art Museum, the Adirondack Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, Cooper-Hewitt Museum, Cleveland Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Vassar College Art Museum, Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Richards died in 1905 in Newport, Rhode Island.