Watson Ball (1863–1934)
Around the Caribbean and
Across the Panama
H.M Caldwell Co. (1903)
Thomas Watson Ball had
a diverse career working in a variety of roles, including
church decorator, art director, painter, and book designer.
Born in New York, he graduated from the College of the
City of New York. Ball worked for a short time for the
brokerage house of Loomis, Weiss & Co. However, his
love of art led him to join J&R Lamb, church decorators,
where he painted a number of murals and ceiling decorations
for churches in New York City; Buffalo, NY; and Hackensack,
Ball served as associate
art director for Harper Brothers from 1894 to 1900. He
worked similarly for Colgate & Co from 1901 to 1907
and for Richard Hudnut from 1910 to 1913. Also, while
a member of a New York regiment, he organized the first
ambulance corps in the State and received the first Red
Ships that Pass in the Night.
Dodd, Mead and Company (1900)
Ball studied art with the
Art Students’ League. He worked under Beckwith,
Mowbray and Du Mond. Ball later taught design, teaching
his son, Thomas R. Ball, architect and Congressman. Ball
was a member of several different organizations, including
the National Arts Club, Salmagundi Club, the American
Institute of Graphic Arts, Lyme Art Association, and
the Society of Illustrators.
He frequently exhibited
paintings in Lyme, CT where he lived and worked in a
renovated boathouse and extensively studied both the
sea and shipbuilding.
His expertise can be seen in his model ships, his paintings, and
also in his book designs, which often feature ships and water.
Most of his book designs were done for Dodd, Mead & Co, but
his work can also be seen with Harper Bros., Houghton, Mifflin & Co.,
and Silver, Burdett & Co.
here to search the PBO database for bindings designed
by Thomas Watson Ball.
Sources: Rainey, Ada. "Lyme
Visit is Full of Inspiration," The Washington
Post, July 29, 1928; "Thomas W. Ball, 70, Mural
Artist, Dies," New York Times, Jan 26,
1934; "Thomas Ball Dies; Ex-Congressman," New
York Times, Jun 18, 1943.
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