Edward Gay was born in Ireland in 1837, and came to America with his parents in 1848 in the wake of the Potato Famine. The family settled in Albany, New York. Difficult times forced Gay to go to work as a child, where his talent was recognized by the successful local painters George Boughton and the Hart brothers who encouraged his interest. He studied landscape painting with James Hart and was eventually encouraged to travel to Europe and study in Karlsrue, Germany with the traditional historical painters Karl Freidrich Lessing and Johann Schirmer. Gay was disappointed with his training in Europe and when he returned to the United States in 1864 he and his wife moved to Mt. Vernon, New York. At the time, Mt. Vernon was open farmland with sunny meadows and orchards stretching along Long Island Sound.
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