Newbold Hough Trotter
Inlet House, Atlantic City from Brigantine
Oil on canvas, 5 × 14 3/8 inches
Signed at lower right: “N. H. Trotter”
Inscribed and dated in ink on backing: “#COCC/Inlet House A. City from Brigantine/1895–1870–N.H.
Newbold Hough Trotter was born in Philadelphia, where he spent the majority
of his life. After attending Haverford College from about 1841 until 1845,
he worked for the wholesale dry goods firm of Wood, Abbott, and Company and
then became a partner in a machinist company, Birkinbine, Martin, and Trotter.
He began to pursue his interest in art while still involved in business and
may have attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1854; he exhibited
there between 1858 and 1887. During the Civil War, Trotter joined the Germantown
Home Guards in 1861 and fought at the Battle of Antietam. After the war, Trotter
and his brother-in-law started a hardware business. After it closed in 1867,
Trotter was free to paint on a full-time basis. In addition to being active
in the Pennsylvania Academy, he was a member of the Art Club of Philadelphia,
vice-president of the Artists’ Fund Society of Philadelphia, and a director
and secretary of the Philadelphia Society of Artists. He also exhibited at
the National Academy of Design in New York between 1871 and 1886 and at the
Boston Athenaeum between 1859 and 1867.
Trotter was best known for his animal subjects, but he also painted landscapes.
His painting Wounded Buffaloes Pursued by Prairie Wolves (location
unknown) was shown at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876 and
was purchased by General William Tecumseh Sherman for Army headquarters in
Washington, D.C.; Trotter subsequently executed three commissions for the War
Department and an equestrian portrait of General Sherman. His interest in natural
history led to a commission to illustrate Hayden’s Journal of the Mammals
of North America, for which he completed thirty paintings before the
project was cancelled for financial reasons.
This view of the Inlet House in Atlantic City was taken from Brigantine, a
town to the north across the Absecon Inlet. According to an early history of
Atlantic City, the Inlet House was a large structure located on Clam Creek.
The same source described the Inlet as “a large body of water at the upper
end of the island, where sailing and fishing boats, in charge of experienced
captains, can be hired by the day or by the hour. The sail through the bays
or out to sea, through the Inlet outlet, is delightful, and the fishing is
generally very good.”1 A view of the Inlet House from a distant vantage point
on the boardwalk is preserved in a 1909 postal card photograph.2 The Atlantic
County Historical Society has an undated newspaper clipping with a photograph
of the building that identifies it as the “Inlet Hotel former location of Hyman
Shore Dinners from Atlantic City long ago operated by Josh and Max Hyman.” The
Inlet House was the site of the famous Captain Starns Restaurant from the 1920s
until the ’70s, when the building was demolished.
Copyright ©2005 The Schwarz Gallery