Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Dogs & Cats in American Folk Art - Zedekiah Belknap 1781-1858


Zedekiah Belknap (American artist, 1781-1858) The Farley Children

Zedekiah Belknap was an itinerant portrait painter born in Auburn, Massachusettees, who grew up and was buried in Weathersfield, Vermont. He was born into a family of farmers and was the only one to attend college, graduating from Dartmouth with a divinity degree in 1807.

Zedekiah Belknap (American artist, 1781-1858) New England Girl Holding Squeek Toy with Cat c 1830

He served as a chaplain in the War of 1812 in Lt. Col Elnathan Sherwin's Regiment from Waterville, Maine. He may have combined circuit preaching with painting portraits of residents of towns & villages in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. He his first known portraits coincide with the year of his Dartmouth graduation, and he continued to paint until at least 1848.


Zedekiah Belknap (American artist, 1781-1858) Girl with Cat


Dogs & Cats in American Folk Art - Milton W. Hopkins 1789-1844


Milton W. Hopkins (1789-1844) Pierrepont Edward Lacey (1832 - after 1860) and His Dog, Gun

Milton W. Hopkins was born in Harwinton, Connecticut. In 1802, he moved with his family to Pompey Hill, New York. After the death of his first wife, Hopkins remarried in 1817, and shortly thereafter relocated to Evans Mills, New York. He painted in the Watertown, New York area and in the Erie Canal towns of western New York State in the 1820s, moving with his family to Albion, in 1823.

Milton W. Hopkins (1789-1844) Virginia Ada Wright

In 1836, Hopkins packed up his wife and 10 children and headed west to Ohio, settling in Clermont County. Though he never sold the Clermont County farm (he would die there in 1844), he set up a studio in Columbus (1840-1843) and then in Cincinnati (1843-1844). 

Milton W. Hopkins (American painter, 1789-1844) Eliza Pixley Lacey


Milton W. Hopkins (1789-1844) James and Alfred Collins Children of Mrs and Mrs James Collins


Dogs & Cats in American Folk Art - Ammi Phillips 1788-1865


Ammi Phillips (American artist, 1788-1865)  Girl in Pink with Dog


Ammi Phillips, a mostly self-taught New England portrait painter, was born in Colebrook, Connecticut. The following portraits are attributed to Phillips.  Either this folk artist has been tagged by many as a convenient identity for an unknown artist, or he is an artist whose style appears to have changed radically over the decades he painted portraits.


Ammi Phillips (American artist, 1788-1865)  Young Girl and Her Cat

In 1809 when he was 21, he traveled to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where he advertised in the Berkshire Reporter that he was eager to & capable of painting portraits for potential clients. These early notices are the only ads he is known to have placed in any local newspaper. Phillips declared that he would portray his clients with “perfect shadows and elegantly dressed in the prevailing fashions of the day.” It was a promise that Phillips kept for the next 5 decades. His work changed as the fashion, furnishings, customs, & styles of everyday life in 19th-century America changed over time.

Ammi Phillips (American artist, 1788-1865)  Girl in a Red Dress and Her Dog

Scholars speculate that his portraits may have been influenced by the work of Connecticut artist Reuben Moulthrop (1763-1814), who had painted Phillips’ namesake, the Reverend Ammi Ruhamah Robbins, in nearby Norfolk. Phillips seems to have known the work of Massachusetts artist, James Brown (active 1806-1808). An 1808 portrait by Brown appears to have served as the model for an 1811 portrait produced by Phillips.

Ammi Phillips (American artist, 1788-1865)  Girl in Red Dress with Cat & Dog

By the 1840s, Phillips had serious competition, less expensive photographic portraits. His portraits after that period reflect the rich, saturated colors of the Victorian years. His portraits are more staged reflecting popular studio photography. His women are more realistically portrayed bringing the life-like aspect of photography to the canvas.

Ammi Phillips (American artist, 1788-1865)  1834 Andrew Jackson Tenbreoke

He worked as an itinerant painter in Connecticut, Massachusetts, & New York over 5 decades painting hundreds of portraits. Between 1811 and 1862, Phillips created at least 600 paintings which are attributed to his hand that still exist. The portraits presented here are attributed to Phillips by dealers & museum professionals, although I do not know if he painted all of them, I will post them for you to enjoy.

Ammi Phillips (American artist, 1788-1865)  Mrs. Stephen Nottingham Ostrander with Child & Dog 1837


Dogs & Cats in American Folk Art - Joseph Goodhue Chandler 1813-1884


An itinerant painter born in Massachusetts, Joseph Chandler was a typical 19th-century American folk artist traveling from place to place painting portraits. To the relief of modern-day curators, he signed & dated his paintings on the backs of the canvases.  His portraits of children capture the awkwardness of his sitters, and he often included toys & pets & perhaps a landscape in the background--something he did not do with his adult sitters.

Joseph Goodhue Chandler (American artist, 1813 – 1884) Frederick Eugene Bennet


Joseph Goodhue Chandler (American artist, 1813 – 1884) Boy and his Dog


Joseph Goodhue Chandler (American artist, 1813 – 1884) Small Boy with Dog

Dogs & Cats in American Folk Art - Prior-Hamblen School


William Matthew Prior, (American artist, 1806-1873) Little Child with Big Dog 1848 (Prior-Hamblin School)

These paintings are attributed by curators or sellers of folk art to the Prior-Hamblen or Hamblin School. Five artists are general identified as being part of the Prior-Hamblin School who were influenced by artist William Matthew Prior:

William Matthew Prior, (American artist, 1806-1873) Girl with a Black Cat (Prior-Hamblin School)

Sturtevant Hamblen or Hablin (1817-1884), Prior's brother-in-law, whose family the Prior family lived with in Maine, & in Boston, during the 1830's - 1840's;

William Matthew Prior, (American artist, 1806-1873) William Allen 1843 (Prior-Hamblin School)

George Hartwell (1815–1901), whose niece Elizabeth Hartwell married a Hamblen son, James Hamblen, and who also lived in Boston during the time that Prior lived there. Hartwell returned to his home state of Maine, living in Lewiston, where he was a respected portrait, sign, window-shade, & banner painter. He moved to the home of his nephew Harry Hartwell in the neighboring town of Auburn, about just before his death at the age of 86. ;



Sturtevant J Hamblin (American artist 1817-1884)(Prior-Hamblin School)

J. (Jacob) Bailey Moore (1815-1893) of Candia, New Hampshire.  For a brief time he worked in Boston before returning to New Hampshire.   During his life he worked as a journalist, which was the profession of his father, and as a phrenologist as well as an itinerant artist;

William Matthew Prior (American artist, 1806-1873) Girl with Dog (Prior-Hamblin School)

William W. Kennedy (1817-1871), was born in New Hampshire & worked as a portrait painter in New Bedford, Massachusetts; Ledyard, Connecticut; and Berwick, Maine from 1845-1847. He moved to Maryland in 1849 or 1850, living at various locations in Baltimore with his wife & 3 children until 1869.  No direct relationship to Prior has been found, other than that he published an advertisement in New Bedford similar to advertisements used by Prior;

William Matthew Prior (American artist, 1806-1873) Miss Jones with Her Dog and Cat 1846 (Prior-Hamblin School)

E. W. Blake was listed in the Boston City Directory as a physician at the Boston Lunatic Hospital living on Beach Street near Harrison Avenue in Boston in 1843. From 1844-1849, he was listed at 28 Harrison Avenue. Both locations were within easy walking distance of Prior's residence on Marion Street. Blake was apparently influenced by Prior, as he frequently used a small-size format similar to that used by Prior and had a simple style, not realistic. Blake's portraits, except for 2 known signed paintings, have usually been attributed to Prior or to the Prior-Hamblen School.

William Matthew Prior (American artist, 1806-1873) Two Children with Dog Minny on a Ribbon 1840 (Prior-Hamblin School)



Prior-Hamblen School Sarah Gray 1843



Prior-Hamblen School attr to Sturtevant Hamblen (American painter, 1817–1884) Adelaide Endora Smith, Waterville, ME, 1852


Dogs & Cats in American Folk Art - Susan Catherine Moore Waters 1823-1900


Susan Catherine Moore Waters (American artist, 1823-1900) The Lincoln Children 1845

Susan Catherine Moore Waters was born in Binghamton, New York, on May 18, 1823, the daughter of Sally Camp Moore (1788-a 1880) & Lark Moore (1790-1871). Susan's only sibling Amelia was born 2 years later. The Moores moved near Friendsville, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, when the girls were children & lived on a farm, which Susan painted as a landscape about 1843. Susan Waters & her sister Amelia attended female seminary of The Susquehanna Academy. Recruited by her teachers to create drawings, Water’s received tuition help for both herself & her sister. Using fabrics of cotton or mattress ticking as her medium when linen was not available, Waters demonstrated that her work was technically sound, as she painted copies of specimens for the class in natural history. She was considered a prodigy by her teachers.

In 1841, she married William Waters, a Quaker, who encouraged her talent. She painted a number of her early portraits in southern New York state, including Cannonsville, Berkshire, Richford, Kelloggsville, & Oxford. Susan became a successful itinerant portrait artist; a supporter of women's rights & the humane treatment of animals; a photographer; & a deeply religious Quaker. She is well known for her portraits of inhabitants of the southern New York done between the years 1843 & 1850, but she was also a successful still-life & animal painter in her later life.

Susan Catherine Moore Waters (American artist, 1823-1900) Brothers 1845

Faced with a dwindling market for portraits due to the invention of the camera, Waters continued in her chosen field by teaching drawing & painting. However, both she & her husband learned photography as well. After her husband's health faltered, they decided to stop traveling & established themselves in the business of taking fine ambrotypes & daguerreotypes. They settled in Bordentown, New Jersey, where she taught & painted there & in nearby cities. They built a cottage on Mary Street which was later sold. Susan traveled & painted & then returned to Bordentown, to repurchase her former house. For 27 years, Mrs. Waters painted pictures in her quiet studios there encouraged by her husband. In 1876, Waters was honored with an invitation to show 2 of her paintings at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.

After her husband's death in 1893, she devoted herself entirely to her art, living alone most of the time. At the end of the decade, she boarded at the Friends' Home home in Trenton, and faithfully attended the Friends meetings. On June 6, 1900, she reported on the census; that she had borne 2 children, but that neither was living. She died on July 7, 1900, & was buried in a cemetery at Bordentown, New Jersey.

Susan Catherine Moore Waters (American artist, 1823-1900) Girl with Dog in a Grape Arbor


Susan Catherine Moore Waters (American artist, 1823-1900) Henry L Wells 1845


Susan Catherine Moore Waters (American artist, 1823-1900) Nicholas Catlin 1852

Probably by Susan Catherine Moore Waters (American artist, 1823-1900) Probably Girls from The Lincoln Family, because the dog is the same as in the above identified portrait.


Tiny Dogs & Cats in American Folk Art - Joseph H Davis 1811-1865


Joseph H Davis (American artist, 1811-1865) Sewell & Sally Marden of Deerfield NH 1837 (Cat, Top Hat, Newspaper, Painted Table, Patterned Carpet, Lady in Apron)

Joseph H. Davis was one of numerous itinerant artists who created small, inexpensive portraits of New England citizens in the early decades of the nineteenth century.  Joseph H Davis was a man with a formula that seemed to work for him, just as it works for us in the 21st century who are interested in the details of the parlor & furniture & carpets & wall hangings & tablescapes & fashion & & daily reading habits in the 19th century. And we know a few details of the artist himself, such as Davis was left-handed.

Joseph H Davis (American artist, 1811-1865) William Foss, Aged 53 & Polly Foss, Aged 56 (Cat, Port Scene, Newspaper, Painted Table, Patterned Carpet, Lady in Bonnet & Apron)

The distinctive formula of his likenesses, his practice of inscribing them with dates & his sitters’ names, & items from the sitters' lives were consistant throughout his brief career in which the artist created some 160 works in pencil, pen, & watercolor.

Joseph H Davis (American artist, 1811-1865) Alfred and Sally Tailor 1836 (Cat, Dog, Great Painting of House! Painted Table, Patterned Carpet, Lady in Apron)

He appears to have been from a farm family. Apparently, at an early age, he would suddenly leave the family farm to wander from town to town making portraits on small pieces of paper, for which he is said to have charged $1.50 apiece.

Joseph H Davis (American artist, 1811-1865) Charles & Comfort Caverly & Son Isaac 1836 (Cat, Top Hat, Newspaper, Painted Table, Patterned Carpet, Lady in Bonnet & Apron)

Known in his local community as “Pine Hill” Joe Davis for the location of his family’s farm in Limington, Maine, the artist was 21, when he painted his 1st portrait.


Joseph H Davis (American artist, 1811-1865) The Tilton Family 1837 (Cat, Newspapaer, 1 Child, Painted Table, Patterned Carpet, Lady in Apron)

Because quills, ink pots, & writing materials appear in so many of his paintings, some speculate that he may have been a traveling handwriting teacher. He used his own fine script to record pertinent information about his sitters at the bottom of most of his portraits.

Joseph H Davis (American artist, 1811-1865) James & Sarah Tuttle (Cat, Top Hat, Picture of House, Painted Table, Patterned Carpet, Lady in Bonnet)

Family connections may have drawn him to some of his sitters. Some of his other subjects seem to be connected by common membership in the Freewill Baptist Church then flourishing in southern Maine.

Joseph H Davis (American artist, 1811-1865) John & Abigail Montgomery, 1836 (Dog, Top Hat, Painting of Man Shooting, Painted Table, Patterned Carpet, Lady in Bonnet & Apron)

Davis's subjects included the families of diverse professions and means - families of military officers, farmers, lawyers, schoolmasters, and clergymen.

Joseph H Davis (American artist, 1811-1865) John & Hannah Butler of Berwick ME (Cat, Hat, Footstool, Painted Table, Patterned Carpet, Lady in Bonnet & Apron)

In his small scale works on paper, Davis posed subjects in profile, seated, or standing, in lavish interior scenes decorated with grained & painted furniture & boldly patterned carpets.  These proper New England husbands & wives are stiffly posed, as they gaze into each other's eyes, while their children are held or gather by them.

Davis surrounded his subjects with artifacts important in their lives - family Bibles, bowls of fruit, paintings on the walls, & family pets.  Davis often placed these refinements of a middle-class society on the tables, including top hats, books, vases of flowers, potted plants, quill pens with inkstands & writing paper, books, and newspapers.

Elaborately ornamented ink inscriptions usually appear along the bottom borders of Davis's portraits recording information about the subjects such as their names, birthdates, & precise ages at the time the portraits were completed.  The information Davis includes in his portraits clearly records the artist’s travels throughout the border region between Maine & New Hampshire in the years 1832 to 1838.

Davis married in 1835, and moved to Saco, Maine; but he remained active as an artist until about 1838. He may have ceased painting at that date, because the birth of his daughter necessitated a more secure income.  After 1838, Davis earned his living through land speculation, manufacturing, & inventing. The family lived successively in Saco & Newfield, Maine; Morristown, New Jersey; & Woburn, Massachusetts, where he died.


Dogs & Cats in American Folk Art - Unknown Artists


The Gloucester Limner JB 1784



Unknown American artist.  Three Cummins Children and a Dog of Lafayette, NJ 1845



Unknown American artist.  Boy & Dog on the Hudson River



Unknown American artist.  Lydia and Tabitha the Cat



Unknown American artist.  Boy with a Dog



Unknown American artist.  Girl with a Loop & a Dog



Unknown American artist.  Boy with a Cat 1845



Unknown American artist.  Two Children with a Dog



Unknown American artist.  Elijah Thompson with His Puppy 1838



Unknown American artist.  Regina and Richard Mason with Kitten 1819



Unknown American artist.  Boy in Gray with Dog c 1820