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American & European Paintings - September 2008
 
 
painting
 
Unknown Artist, after Charles Bird Lawrence
(American, mid-19th century)
Dovedale Bungalo, Part of the Estate of Major Thomas Quentin
Oil on canvas, 13 1/2 × 19 inches
Label (handwritten in ink): “Dovedale Bungalo,/part of the Estate of Major Thomas/Quentin[sic] on Delaware River/where Andrew Quentin and Elisabeth/Headly Quentin resided after their/marriage April 9th 1840/Andrew Quintin’s first Prop”
Inscribed in ink on stretcher verso: (top center) “Dovedale Farm”; (bottom center) “Quintin Avon by the Sea”; (bottom center, inside edge) “Andrew Quintin’s first Prop.”
RS 857


This topographical view of a riverside estate is a smaller copy after a painting attributed to Charles Bird Lawrence. Lawrence, a native of Bordentown, New Jersey, was mainly active in Philadelphia and exhibited often at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1811 to 1832. Early in his career he painted topographical landscapes that reflected the influence of Thomas Birch (1779–1851), and around 1815 he became active as a portraitist. He ceased to paint and was employed as a clerk in the bank of Pennsylvania Township from 1840 to 1842, and as a plumber from 1844 to 1856.

The inscription on the label attached to the reverse identifies the subject as “Dovedale Bungalo” on the Delaware River, adding that the estate was owned by Andrew Quinton. Such a person was documented in the U.S. Census of 1840 as owning property in Bristol Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and in the U.S. Census of 1850 as owning property in Nottingham Township in Mercer County, New Jersey. Nottingham Township was originally in Burlington County until the creation of Mercer County in 1838. Nottingham was later divided into Trenton City, Hamilton Township, and Bordentown, all of which were located along the Delaware River. The topographical details of the landscape, the inscription, and the documentary sources all suggest that the property represented in this painting was located on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River.

The inscription probably postdates the painting. The word bungalow (here spelled “bungalo”) is a British corruption of the Bengali word used to designate a low, usually single-story domestic dwelling surrounded by galleries or porches. According to an architectural historian, the earliest American house called a bungalow was designed by William Gibbons Preston and published as such in American Architecture and Building News in 1880. The bungalow became a popular form of American domestic architecture in the last two decades of the nineteenth century and the first quarter of the twentieth century. The building represented in this painting conforms to the general definition of a bungalow, and as such it is significant as an early American representation of that architectural style.


  


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