William Henry Bancroft

William Henry Bancroft was born in Derby, England in 1860. He briefly studied drawing at the University of Manchester, before, at the age of fifteen, deciding to make his way to America. Once there, Bancroft enlisted in General Crook’s Scouts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he remained for two years fighting the Apache. In 1878, he continued his study of art at the St. Louis Art School, but soon made his way back to the West, where he worked primarily as a sign painter. He moved to Colorado Springs in 1881, and established the Bancroft Sign Company to support himself, but after a few years discovered that his canvases, particularly the plein air landscapes, began to find a ready market. His friend, Winfield Scott Stratton, local carpenter-prospector who became a multi-millionaire philanthropist, is reputed to have paid $5,000 for The Miner’s Last Dollar which he commissioned, a fortune at the time.