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 Samuel Seymour  (c. 1775 - after 1823)

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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania/Kansas      Known for: expedition artist-landscapes, portraits, engraving

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Ad Code: 3
Samuel Seymour
from Auction House Records.
Indians, Salmon Falls, New Hampshire
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The first caucasian artist to record the trans-Missississi West including the environs of Colorado Springs, Samuel Seymour accompanied the western expedition of Stephen H. Long in 1819-1820 and made the earliest-known sketches of the Royal Gorge and Pike's Peak.  Long's expedition, crossed the Great Plains to the Front Range, and because of Seymour's work, he is credited as beginning an era of western painting that had its conclusion in the Taos Colony of artists.

Seymour also made the first recorded sketch of Kansas, War Dance in the Interior or a Konza Lodge, which was done near Manhattan.

He was also an engraver and painter as well as sketch artist and draftsman and likely was born in England about 1775.  He was in Philadelphia between 1796 and 1823, and then went to New York City.  Of Seymour, Robert Taft wrote in his book, Artists and Illustrators of the Old West: "Seymour is one of the most elusive characters with whom I have had to deal and I probably have spent more time---without success-in trying to unravel even the simpler facts of his life. . . .The last positive information I have concering him is that he was alive in New York City in the fall of 1823.  What little is known---or thought to be known---about Seymour will be found in a recent review by J.F. McDermott in the Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution, 1950, Washington, 1951, pp. 497-509." (379)

Some of Seymour's works are in the Coe Collection at Yale University, and a few were reproduced in the Edwin James accound of the Long expedition published in Philadelphia and London in 1823.

Sources include:
Robert A. Taft, Artists and Illustrators of the Old West, 1850-1900
Wagner, Cuba and Cunningham, Pike's Peak Vision: The Broadmoor Art Academy, 1919-1945
Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born England, ca. 1775 and died 1823, Samuel Seymour was a painter, sketch artist and engraver who specialized in landscape and portraits.  He drew the first printed sketch made in Kansas.  Titled War Dance in the Interior of a Kanza Lodge, it was done in 1819 near Manhattan, and was published in Edwin James’s Account of an Expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains, Performed in the Years 1819 and '20...under the Command of Major Stephen H. Long. (Philadelphia, 1823)

Seymour’s earliest known work appeared in 1796, and apparently from that time on he resided in or near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Not much is known of his work for the next 20 years.  He exhibited landscape paintings at various venues sponsored by the Pennsylvania Academy of Arts in Philadelphia, and engraved at least three pictures by William Birch (1801, 1803, 1804).

In early 1819, Seymour accompanied the Major Stephen H. Long Expedition as landscape painter.  The following year, the exploration went to the Platte River, the Front Wall of the Rockies, and down the Arkansas/Canadian Rivers.  During the next two years, Seymour reportedly finished some 60 of the 150 sketches he made while on the exploration trip.

Of all this work, however, only 17 of his drawings from the 1819-1820 expedition can be identified today.

In 1823, Seymour again accompanied Long on an expedition, this time to the headwaters of the St. Peter's River in Minnesota.  Returning from this trek by October 26 of that same year, the artist again provided a number of drawings for the official report of 194 the exploration party, presumably finishing these by mid-1824.  From this point on, Samuel Seymour disappears from historical sight.
Academy of Natural Sciences; Joslyn Art Museum

Susan Craig, "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945)"
Taft, Lorado. History of American Sculpture. New edition with supplemental chapter by Adeline Adams. New York: Macmillan Co, 1930.; Samuels, Peggy. Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1976.; Field; Stauffer, David McNeely. American Engravers upon Copper and Steel. New York: Burt Franklin, 1964. 3v.; AskART,, accessed Dec. 27, 2005; Library of the Academy of Natural Sciences,, accessed Dec. 27, 2005
This and over 1,750 other biographies can be found in Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945) compiled by Susan V. Craig, Art & Architecture Librarian at University of Kansas.

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