Born Halifax, Joseph Purcell studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art where he studied on scholarship. After he left the College he began a series of paintings interpreting Nova Scotia towns, and the activity of the East Coast and Atlantic fishing industry. By 1947 he had established himself as a professional painter and had his first exhibition at Zwicker’s Gallery. Joe was commissioned to paint a series of murals for the Nova Scotian Hotel, and the Victoria General Hospital. In 1953, he moved with his artist wife to Lunenburg, when he found much of the subject-matter that was to be the basis for his paintings for the rest of his career. Joseph is known for working in watercolour and oil. He has established himself as one of the most popular artists working in Atlantic Canada, and his paintings are in collections all over the world including Britain, Continental Europe, the United States, and Australia as well as all over Canada.