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 Nathaniel Hurd  (1729 - 1777)

About: Nathaniel Hurd


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Lived/Active: Massachusetts      Known for: engraver, silversmith, heraldic artist

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is submitted by Linda J. Hurd, courtesy of the Bostonian Society: Genealogy (April 1978, page 83) "The Hurds of Boston":

Described as "eminent colonial silversmith and engraver; early experimented with engraving on copper for bookplates, the most famous of which was done for Harvard College; an index of his seals, engraving, bookplates and silver is found in the work by Hollis French ("Jacob Hurd and His Sons", 1939); examples of his silver are in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; Copley painted his portrait which is now in the Cleveland Museum of Art."-

From Hollis French's book (page 82): "Of the various arts and crafts practiced by Nathaniel Hurd, his armorial bookplates stand comparison with those of any artist in this country before or since his time. After he developed his style and passed the early stages of design and execution, he had a wonderfully sure and bold line, which is very individual, but which led to many imitators, some of whom were clever enough to produce designs which are still difficult to distinguish from Hurd's own work. If imitation is the sincerest flattery, then Hurd was the master he is generally credited to be...

"Nathaniel Hurd's portrait by Copley, now owned by the Museum in Cleveland, shows him with one arm resting on two books, the larger of which bears the name 'Display of Heraldry, ("A Display of Heraldry" by John Guillim, Poursuivant at Arms', p 83)

Nathaniel Hurd is buried at the Granery in Boston. His headstone is directly across from Paul Revere's headstone. (Nathaniel was only six years Revere's senior, but Mr. Revere outlived him by 30 years and thus was much more prolific.)

Much more information is available in French's book about his work and his well-known family for their creations in silver.

A succinct overview of Nathaniel's life is from the Society of American Silversmiths, Summer 1999 Newsletter's article entitled "Nathanial Hurd: Boston silversmith and Engraver".
----------------------------------------------------------------------Nathaniel Hurd was the son of a prominent Boston silversmith, Jacob Hurd, and Nathaniel's earliest engraving is dated 1749. In addition to being a silversmith, he was a designer of bookplates.

Source: Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"

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