John Ward (Born 1798 – Died 1849) has been described as the 19th century’s leading ship portrait painter and marine artist in Hull. He was an English painter from Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire. He made many engravings of his own works. In 1827, Ward exhibited several paintings at East Riding Institute and the Hull for the Promotion of the Fine Arts. Later on, he produced small watercolor paintings and some larger oil paintings, of local shipping scenes and maritime. Between 1840 and 1847, he also exhibited at the Royal Academy, and between 1843 and 1847 he exhibited at the British Institution. Ward died from cholera on 28 September 1849. Up to 1883 his importance was unrecognized, but he shot into the limelight when the local press briefly described his life.
Since then many of his works found their way into public collections, including National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and Hull Maritime Museum, the Ferens Art Gallery. An exhibition of his works was held in 1981 at the Ferens Art Gallery to coincide with the opening of the Humber Bridge. John was a son of Abraham Ward, a master mariner who was also a painter. He received an education and was apprenticed to Thomas Meggitt as a house painter. By 1826, he was listed as a "House and Ship Painter" in the local Hull Directory. In 2009, one of his paintings was stolen from Hull Maritime Museum. This painting was worth £10,000. The painting was recovered 3 months later after being found hanging on the dining room wall of the thief. The thief had stolen the painting as a present for his artist wife.