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F. Hopkinton Smith   Click Images to Enlarge

F. Hopkinton Smith
A Summer Afternoon,
The Inn of William the Conqueror, Normandy
Gouache, watercolor & graphite on paper board
21 x 35 in.
F. Hopkinton Smith
Venice at Night
Pastel on paper
8 x 13 inches

(American, 1838-1915)

Francis Hopkinson Smith became an applauded self-trained watercolorist who painted primarily for his own pleasure and did not want to turn art into a commercial aspect of his life. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland on October 23, 1838 the son of Francis and Susan (Teackle) Smith, and great-grandson of Francis Hopkinson, an artist-poet-musician and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Although Smith prepared for college, financial difficulties made it necessary for him to go into business. He worked in a hardware store and soon became assistant superintendent in his brother's iron foundry before moving to NY at the close of the Civil War to become an engineering partner with fellow-artist James Symington and soon the duo became famous engineers who helped construct the Block Island breakwater; the sea wall at Tompkinsville, Staten Island; the foundations for the Statue of Liberty; and, most difficult of all, the Race Rock Lighthouse, eight miles out to sea with a seven mile per hour rip tide. During the 1870-1880s, Smith became a member of the New York Tile Club, illustrated several books, including A Book of the Tile Club, to which he contributed anonymous sketches and stories. He also lectured and wrote books filled with sketches of his travels throughout Europe. These proved popular and brought him wide recognition as an artist. With more leisure, after 1890 he devoted the greater part of his time to painting, spending his summers abroad, exhibiting, and publishing his drawings and two novels Colonel Carter of Cartersville and The Fortunes of Oliver Horn.

Smith was a member of the American Water Color Society (treasurer, 1873-1878), the Philadelphia Art Club; National Institute Arts & Letters, Cincinnati Art Club, Century Association, Society of Illustrators, the Tile Club and exhibited at the National Academy, the PAFA, Brooklyn AA, Boston AC, Art Institute of Chicago, etc. Together with Arthur Quartley and Charles Stanley Reinhart, Smith developed the artist's colony at Cold Spring Harbor, NY.

Smith won many honors and awards during his lifetime including a Bronze medal, Buffalo Expo., 1901; silver medal, Charleston Expo., 1902; gold medal, Philadelphia Art Club, 1902; gold medal, American Art Society, 1902; Commander Order of the Mejidieh, 1898; and the Order of Osmanieh by the Sultan of Turkey, 1900. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters; American Society; Civil Engineers; American Watercolor Society; Philadelphia Art Club; Cincinnati Art Club and others. He died a famous Impressionist in New York on April 7, 1915, at the age of seventy-seven.


References: Who Was Who in American Art, vol. 3, p. 3076; American Art Annual, vol. 12; Groce & Wallace; "The Tile club at Play," Scribner's Monthly, Feb. 1879; Pisano, Ronald, The Long Island Landscape; Afternoon at the Inn by F. H. Smith