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 William Henry Titcomb  (1824 - 1888)

About: William Henry Titcomb
 

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/New Hampshire      Known for: landscape, marine and still life painting, teaching

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Ad Code: 3
William H Titcomb
from Auction House Records.
NEW ENGLAND WINTER SCENE WITH FARMHOUSE AND BARN
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
William Henry Titcomb, (sometimes spelled "Titcombe") was born in Raymond, New Hampshire on September 24, 1824. Little is known of his education in his early years, but his initial work had a primitive or self-taught feel and subject matter was usually of quaint farms in the Raymond & Exeter NH area. 

In 1848 Titcomb moved to Boston to begin his training, and it is mentioned in Benjamin Grant Bellows Stone's correspondence that they were fellow students with Benjamin Champney beginning 1851. Titcomb took a studio in the Mather Building on Tremont Street in that same time frame and began exhibiting in the Boston Athenaeum. He began advertising for students in the Boston Transcript in 1853, and populated classes with pupils at 50 cents per hour. His Boston Art Academy, (460 Washington Street in the Liberty Tree Building), was the city's first and lasted for more than twenty five years allowing Titcomb the income to paint, travel and form what was considered the most important art history library in the city.
 
Thoughout his life Titcomb returned to Raymond, New Hampshire and also on painting trips in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. His work evolved and contemporaries both in the studio and travelling included Benjamin Champney, Samuel Lancaster Gerry, A.T. Bricher, and John J. Enneking. 

He was especially admired by his peers for his rendering of trees. While painting in the White Mountains Titcomb is known to have stayed at J.M. Shackford's in Albany, NH. Titcomb did not sign his paintings in oil believing it "unpoetic" to obscure the face, however he did sign the backs of his artist's board and stretchers in pencil often including details as to locations such as: "Trout Brook, Branch of the Amonoosuc, Wht Mtns, Titcomb."

The artist never married or had children, but did have a life-long companion, Miss Alicia Gregory.  When he died the Boston Transcript ran the following obituary on February 11, 1888:
 
"Mr. William H. Titcombe, well known as an artist and teacher, died at his studio on Washington Street this morning. During the past twenty five or thirty years some of the most prominent painters of New York and Boston have been his pupils and have derived from him the inspiration which has led to their success. Mr. Titcombe possessed probably the best art library of any artist in New England. For the last quarter century he has had a class of twenty to fifty pupils. He was of generous, kindly nature, and his loss will be mourned by a large circle of friends and pupils. There will be a short service in the Liberty Tree Building, Washington and Essex Streets, Monday afternoon at two o'clock and the remains will be taken to Raymond, N.H. for burial."
 
Sources:              
Rediscovering Some New England Artists 1875-1900, Rolf Kristiansen and John J. Leahy 
New Hampshire Scenery by Catherine H. Campbell
 
Collections:         
Mead Art Museum, Amherst College
Hood Art Musuem, Dartmouth College
Addison Gallery, Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass.

Exhibitions:           
Williams & Everett Gallery, Boston, MA
Vose Galleries, Boston, MA
The Banks Gallery, Portsmouth, NH
Boston Athenaeum
New Hampshire Historical Society
              
Teacher:             
Benjamin Champney
 
Written and submitted by Doug Nelson, Art Historian, White Mountain School & Isles of Shoals 
 

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