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Born in Bristol, Edwin Hayes arrived in Dublin as a young man. He grew up living by the sea and from an early age wanted to be a marine painter. He made the sea his studio and spent much of his time sailing about Dublin Bay and even as far south as Cork in his small yacht. His knowledge of the sea enabled him to capture its ever-changing moods and colours on the canvas. He first exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1842 and for the next ten years resided in Dublin practising his art. From here he went on to exhibit prolifically at the Royal Academy, where he continued to exhibit for forty-nine years. He also exhibited at the Society of British Artists and at the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, of which he became an Associate in 1860 and a Member in 1863. He continued to contribute to the Royal Hibernian Academy and was elected as Associate in 1853 and as Member in 1871.

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