William Bradford was an artist-explorer of the northern arctic regions. Bradford grew up with a view of a whaling port and harbor in Massachusetts, and descended from a family of merchants and whalers. His own familiarity with ships greatly aided his self-taught painting practice and won him early commissions from sailors and captains for ship portraits. Bradford sometimes worked under and with Albert Van Beest, who descended from a Dutch tradition of marine painting. Between 1861 and 1868, Bradford ventured by boat to the arctic regions to study icebergs and the quality of sunlight in the north, and there discovered his life’s passion “to study Nature under the terrible aspects of the Frigid Zone.” In 1873, he published a book The Arctic Regions, furnished with photographs taken from his trips.