A landscape and scenery painter and book illustrator, Granville Perkins was born October 16, 1830 in Baltimore, Maryland. At age fifteen, he became a scene painter for elaborate theatre productions, working with the Ravel family on plays such as "Mazulua”, "The Green Monster" and "Jacko or the Brazilian Ape".
His first formal studies were in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Academy of Art under American landscape painter and etcher, James Hamilton (1819-1898). He also took drawing lessons from William E. Smith. It was during these studies that he first started exhibiting at the Academy. In 1856, Perkins exhibited his first painting, #306 "Cape Croix, Cuba" that reflected his five year-long travels with the Ravels from 1851 to 1856. They visited Cuba, Jamaica, Yucatan and Central America.
In 1856, he returned to Philadelphia and again studied with James Hamilton, by 1860, moving to New York City, he had a reputation for his skills with coastal and tropical landscapes.
In New York, he worked as an illustrator for Harper & Bros. in Franklin Square and for "Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper". While working at Harper & Bros., he continued his art studies and was invited to exhibit at the National Academy of Design. Perkins became a frequent exhibitor at the National Academy of Design from 1862 to 1883.
About 1870, Granville Perkins went to California from New York, and traveled south by ship around Cape Horn. Before this, his Latin American paintings had primarily been of Cuba, but during the 1870s and 1880s, they were mainly of South American tropical landscapes.
As an accomplished watercolorist, Granville Perkins became a member of the New York Watercolor Society. He exhibited his watercolors at the National Academy of Design and at the Chicago Art Institute in 1889 and 1894.
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