Mountain Art & Artists
Thomas Doughty (1791-1856)
Thomas Taber Doughty was born in Philadelphia on July 19, 1791, the son of James and Margarett Doughty. He was baptised at the Old Saint George Methodist Episcopal Church on August 7, 1791 (see Baptismal Record).
Doughty's first vocation was as a leather currier. It was not until 1820, at the age of almost 30, that he decided, "contrary to the wishes of my friends and family, to pursue painting as a profession." Encouraged by Thomas Sully, Doughty painted the scenery around Philadelphia and learned to master the effects of light and shade and the use of color. His first visit to New England was probably between 1820 and 1828.
He was elected to membership at the National Academy of Design in 1827. He exhibited at the National Academy, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Boston Athenaeum during the same period.
From 1828 to 1838 he lived and worked in Boston, traveling in the summer to the White Mountains. Doughty, Alvan Fisher, and Chester Harding stayed at Thompson's Tavern in North Conway in those early years for two dollars a week. He journeyed to England in 1838 to 1839 and again from 1845 to 1847.By the time of his death, Doughty's popularity as an artist had waned. Though he was one of the first artists to visit the White Mountains, his paintings were generally modest and unspectacular. James Thomas Flexner wrote of Doughty that his was "the first incomplete statement of the style of the Hudson River School."