Edward Mitchell Bannister was among the earliest Rhode Island landscape painter, and the first African-American artist, to win national recognition. He was the son of a black man from Barbados and a white woman from Canada. He was born in St. Andrews, New Brunswick in 1828.
By the mid 1860s he was studying under Dr. William Rimmer at the Lowell Institute and painting landscapes, portraits, religious, and genre subjects. By 1876 when he and his wife, Christiana, moved to Providence, his landscapes were showing the influence of the Barbizon style, and his work reached maturity, infused with his spiritual and emotional responses to nature. Edward and his wife remained in Providence until his death in 1901.
He was a founder and member of the Providence Art Club. He exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1879.