Joseph H. Davis

JOSEPH H. DAVIS (1811-1865)

worked briefly but prolifically as an artist in Dover, New Hampshire and nearby Maine towns. Between 1832 and 1837 he produced enough examples that at least 160 documented portraits in ink and watercolor have survived. Davis typically arranged his subjects in interior settings, surrounded by the accoutrements of 19th century middle class life. The portraits are personalized by the depiction of pets, children, flower arrangements, books, newspapers and references to the sitter’s profession or interests. They are further identified by the elaborate calligraphic inscriptions found along the bottom of the portrait, providing the name, age and town of residence. While the vast majority of portraits are unsigned, on at least one occasion Davis signed his name and inscribed his work with the words “left/hand painter.”

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