Edward Mitchell Bannister (Edward Mitchell Bannister)

Edward Mitchell Bannister

Painter. He was born in St. Andrews, New Brunswick to a father from Barbados and a mother who was believed to be of Scottish descent. After the death of his mother, who had encouraged his early artistic interest, he worked several years at sea in Canada before moving to Boston, Massachusetts in 1848. While working a variety of jobs, including as a barber, he took evening classes in art at the Lowell Institute and exhibited his work at the Boston Art Club and Museum. While in Boston he married Rhode Island Narragansett Indian Christiana Carteaux, a hairdresser and social activist. They moved to Providence in 1870, where he continued to paint, mostly landscapes, but a variety of other subjects as well. He was one of the founders of the Providence Art Club and served on the board of the Rhode Island School of Design, founded in 1877 in Providence. In 1876, he won first prize for his painting “Under the Oaks” at the Philadelphia Centinnial Exposition. However, when the judges discovered they had given the award to an African-American, they wanted to take it back. Bannister’s white competitors objected, and Bannister kept his prize, making him the first African-American to win a national award. After his death in 1901, the Providence Art Club created an exhibition of 101 of his paintings. Today, much of his work can be seen at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C. and in Rhode Island at Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design. In Providence, Rhode Island College’s Art Gallery is named in his honor. (bio by: Jen Snoots) ¬†Family links: ¬†Spouse: ¬†Christiana Babcock Bannister (1819 – 1902)* *Calculated relationship Inscription:Friends of this pure and lofty soul, freed from the form which lies beneath the sod, have placed this stone to mark the grave of him who while he portrayed nature, walked with God.


  • January, 01, 1970
  • Canada


  • January, 01, 1901
  • USA


  • North Burial Ground
  • USA

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