Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com advises that these 19th Century
biographies, although edited, still contain period bias.
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KENSETT, John Frederick, artist, born in Cheshire, Connecticut, 22 March, 1816; died in New York city, 16 December, 1872. He was apprenticed to his uncle, Alfred Daggett, an engraver of bank-note vignettes, and devoted his leisure to painting. In 1840 he went to England, where he studied art for five years, supporting himself by engraving. In the spring of 1845 he exhibited in the Royal academy, London, his first picture, a distant view of Windsor castle, the purchase of which encouraged him to persevere in his profession. He spent the following two years in Rome, painting views of Italian scenery, several of which became the property of the American art union. His "View on the Arno" and "Shrine," exhibited at the National academy in New York in 1848, established his reputation. In 1848 he returned to New York, where he resided till his death. He was elected an associate in 1848, and in 1849 a member of the National academy of design. In 1859 he was appointed a member of the National art commission to direct, the ornamentation of the capitol in Washington, and to superintend the works of art that were placed there. His pictures are singularly equal in merit, facile and pure in feeling, and are popular. George Bancroft wrote of him:" The works of his hands will make John F. Kensett familiar to posterity; the loveliness of his character and his virtues live in the memory and affection of his friends." His works are chiefly landscapes, and include" Mount Washington from North Conway" (1849); "Sketch of Mount Washington" (1851); "Franconia Mountains" (1853); "High Bank on the Genesee River" (1857); " Sunset on the Coast" (1858); "Sunset on the Adirondacks" (1860); "Autumn Afternoon on Lake George" (1864), in the Corcoran gallery, Washington: "Glimpse of the White Mountains" (1867); "Afternoon on Connecticut Shore"; "Noon on the Seashore"; "Lake Cohesus "; "Coast of Massachusetts "; "New Hampshire Scenery," owned by the Century club; "Lake George"; and "Narragansett." Thirty-eight of his paintings were presented to the Metropolitan mu-scum of New York by his brother Thomas in 1873. Others were sold in New York in 1887.
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