This scene portrays the family of Amherst College professor and president Edward Hitchcock and his wife, the botanical artist and illustrator Orra White Hitchcock, in front of their home in Amherst. Records indicate that Professor Hitchcock commissioned Peckham to paint botanical specimens in the 1830s, which affirms Hitchcock’s connection to the artist. The painting is notable for its setting outside the home, as most of Peckham’s portraits feature interiors. The choice underscores Hitchcock’s values: his work as a geologist, his ties to Amherst College, and his family. The depiction of Orra White Hitchcock with a young child in her arms emphasizes her maternal role over her artistry. Recently, museums and scholars have sought to recognize the importance of her contributions.
Lisa Crossman (2020)
travelers; travel; figures; architecture; houses; trees; vegetation; families; carriages
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