William H. Willcox
(c. 1831–after 1919)
Oil on canvas, 17 1/4 × 32 1/4 inches
Signed at lower left: “W. H. Willcox”
William H. Willcox lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 1849, the year that
he exhibited two pencil drawings at the American Institute of the City of New
York and sold two landscapes to the American Art Union. He moved to Philadelphia
in 1850, lived in Germantown, and exhibited regularly at the Pennsylvania Academy
of the Fine Arts from 1852 to 1868 and from 1880 to 1917. The titles of the
landscapes he exhibited there indicate that he painted in upstate New York,
New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and the countryside around Philadelphia. Willcox
also exhibited at the National Academy of Design from 1853 to 1869. He was
primarily a landscape painter but occasionally painted portraits and genre
scenes. He was living in Germantown as late as 1919.1
This undated view of Atlantic City exemplifies Willcox’s penchant for panoramic
landscapes. The famous Absecon Lighthouse breaks the horizon line at the left.
The structure was built by the Army Corps of Engineers between 1855 and 1857.
Rising to a height of 171 feet, it is the tallest lighthouse in New Jersey
and the third tallest in the United States. The lighthouse was decommissioned
in 1933, placed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places in 1970, and
the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. Absecon Lighthouse remains
one of Atlantic City’s most distinctive landmarks and popular tourist attractions.
Copyright ©2005 The Schwarz Gallery