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 Horace Bundy  (1814 - 1883)

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Lived/Active: Vermont/New Hampshire      Known for: naive portrait, landscape, genre

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Ad Code: 3
Horace Bundy
An example of work by Horace Bundy
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
This biography was submitted by Peter Kostoulakos, ISA - Fine Art Consultant

Horace Bundy---painter of portraits, genre, and animals---was born on July 22, 1814 in Hardwick, VT and died in 1883 in Concord, NH. He was basically a self-taught, itinerant artist who started his career decorating sleighs and then went on to painting portraits of northern New Englanders.

As many artists of his day, Bundy went to live and work in the new, thriving industrial city of Lowell, Massachusetts. In 1837, just one year after Lowell was incorporated as a city, Bundy married Louisa Lockwood. A few years after their marriage the Bundys moved to Springfield, VT and lived in a house built for them by Louisa's father. In 1842 Horace became a licensed Adventist preacher. To support a wife and eight children, he traveled around the New England area during the 1840s and 1850s, mainly Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, preaching and painting.

The reverse side of Bundy's portraits usually bears his signature, subject, and date. Very often Bundy included the place where the picture was painted. The information he provided has been a great source for chronicling his travels. It is known that during the 1840s and 1850s Bundy visited Claremont, Nashua, Hancock, and Fitzwilliam, NH; Townsend and Springfield, VT; and Winchendon, MA. In 1863 he was appointed pastor of the Second Advent Church in Lakeport, NH. During the 1870s he only painted a few portraits of his family members using photographs as reference. Bundy made a painting trip to Jamaica in 1883 and shortly after his return to Concord, NH, he died of typhus.

109 paintings by Horace Bundy are listed with the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System. His work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; the Danbury Scott-Fanton Museum and Historical Society in Danbury, CT; the Londonderry Historical Society in Londonderry, NH; the Potsdam Public Museum in Potsdam, NY; the University of Vermont in Burlington, VT; the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, VT; the Springfield Art and Historical Society in Springfield, VT; the Montclair Art Museum in Montclair, NJ; the Fitzburg Historical Society in Fitchburg, MA; the Essex County Historical Society in Elizabethtown, NY; the Northborough Historical Society in Northborough, MA; Smith College in Northampton, MA; the Heritage Plantation of Sandwich in Sandwich, MA; Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA; Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH; the Newark Museum in Newark, NJ; the Albany Institute of History and Art in Albany, NY; the New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown, NY; the Nashua Historical Society in Nashua, NH; and the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, MA.

References: Davenport's Art Reference 2001/2002, page 317; Mallett Supplement, page 39; Dealer's Choice Biographical Encyclopedia of American Painters, page 197; Smithsonian Institution Research Information System; National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue.

Copy of Press Release upon receiving the Boyd Portraits:

Historical Society Donates 1851 Boyd Portraits to Leach Library. In 1851 Robert and Mary Boyd of Londonderry wanted to preserve their images for future generations. Since photography at this time was very crude and not available for most people, the Boyds hired an itinerant painter named Horace Bundy to paint their portraits. On January 2, 1851 Bundy completed his portraits of the Boyds. Unfortunately, Robert Boyd died only a month later at the age of 62 while his wife, Mary, died in 1887 at the ripe old age of 96. The Boyds were descendants of Londonderry's first settlers and for whom Boyd Road in South Londonderry is named.

In 1998 the Boyd portraits were donated to the Historical Society by a descendant of the Boyds, Joseph M. Petrauskas of Nashua, NH, in memory of his wife Priscilla Boyd Petrauskas. To preserve the portraits the Trustees of Londonderry Leach Library have agreed to permanently display the Boyd paintings in the main Library. The paintings have been sent to an art conservator for a thorough cleaning before their installation in the Library in April, 2001.

While the Boyds have faded into obscurity, their painter, Horace Bundy, has risen to national prominence in the art world. An untrained painter of sleighs, Bundy later earned his living by artfully recording the likenesses of Northern New Englanders. In the 20th century Bundy was recognized for the quality of his work and his paintings now hang in many museums including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The Boyd portraits have been preserved in excellent condition and will soon be available for all Londonderry residents to see at the Leach Library.

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