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 Thomas Palmer Moses  (1808 - 1881)

About: Thomas Palmer Moses


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Lived/Active: New Hampshire/South Carolina      Known for: marine, landscape, animal

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BIOGRAPHY for Thomas Moses
1808 (Portsmouth, New Hampshire)
1881 (South Carolina)

New Hampshire/South Carolina

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marine, landscape, animal

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Civil War Art
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born near Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Thomas Moses, a painter of landscape and marine subjects, especially of Portsmouth harbor and ship portraits, began his career as a typesetter and an organist and music teacher. In the mid-19th century, he was the towns leading musician. He also wrote poetry that was published in the local paper.

However, personality problems with a church authority led to his dismissal from the the music position at the Congregational North Church, and he began giving sketching lessons to earn money. However, little came of this, so he moved to New York City, and in 1855, he moved to Boston. His first known oil painting is "Entrance Portsmouth, N.H. Harbour" of 1855, and it is his only known work of that decade. By 1856, he was in the deep South where he taught painting and music, and then in 1866, he returned to Portsmouth where he opened a studio.

He painted two Civil War subjects upon his return, likely as symbols of his pro-Union position. One was a life-size portrait of General Grant, and the other was of the sinking of the "Alabama," a confederate steamer. He did numerous works from prints and photographs and some he did from first-hand observation such as "Coming From the Navy Yard, Portsmouth."

In 1875, he accepted an offer from an academy in Marietta, South Carolina and returned to the south where in 1875, he painted the ship "charles Carroll," regarded as one of his finest works. In 1876, he married at age 68, and he died five years later, having lived with his bride in South Carolina.

Source: American Art Review, April 2002

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