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Maker(s):Champney, James Wells
Culture:American (1843-1903)
Title:painting: Hopscotch
Date Made:ca. 1880
Materials:oil, canvas, wood, gilding
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts; Deerfield (probably)
Measurements:framed: 21 5/8 in x 29 1/2 in x 1 1/4 in; 54.9275 cm x 74.93 cm x 3.175 cm
Accession Number:  HD 63.351
Credit Line:Gift of Miss Marian Stebbins
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Framed oil painting signed on the lower right corner, "J. Wells Champney" and inscribed on the reverse "Hop Scotch - Price $400 - 337 Fourth Avenue." Born in Boston, James Wells Champney (1843-1903) served in the 45th Massachusetts Volunteers from 1862-1863 before being invalided out of the army; he then taught drawing at Dr. Dio Lewis's "Young Ladies Seminary" from 1864-1866. After deciding to become a professional artist, Champney moved to Europe where he studied in France with Pierre Edouard Frere (1819-1886), a well-known French realist genre painter; in Antwerp with Joseph Francois Henri Van Lerius (1823-1876); and in Italy. In 1870, Champney returned to Boston where he opened a studio; in 1873, he was commissioned by "Scribner's Monthly Magazine" to illustrate "The Great South; A Record of Journeys in Louisiana, Texas, the Indian Territory, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland," a series of articles on the Reconstruction South by Edward King (1848-1896) where the two travelled more than 25,000 miles and Champney contributed at least 500 illustrations. In 1873, Champney married Elizabeth Johnson Williams (1850-1922), whom he had met at the "Young Ladies Seminary;" she was a graduate of the Vassar class of 1869 who became a popular children's author of her period and many of whose whose works Champney illustrated. Born in Springfield, Ohio, Elizabeth Williams was the half-sister of Orson Bennet Williams (1834-1912) and daughter of Samuel Barnard Williams (1803-1884), originally of Deerfield, whose second wife was Caroline Johnson (d.1885) whom he married in 1844; the granddaughter of Elijah Williams (1767-1832) who married Hannah Barnard (1772-1853), daughter of Samuel Barnard (1721-1788) of Deerfield, in 1803; and great-granddaugher of Dr. Thomas Williams (1718-1775) of Deerfield. In 1876 the Champneys moved into Samuel Barnard Williams' house in Deerfield where Champney built a studio; they lived in Deerfield for several years while he was professor of art at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., and one of the founders of the Smith Art Gallery. In 1879, Champney opened a studio in New York City, and from that time on the Deerfield became their summer home. James and Elizabeth had two children: Edward Frere (1874-1929) who studied art and became an architect, and Maria Mitchell (1876-1906) who was born in Deerfield, married John Sanford Humphreys in 1899, and was a miniature painter. Mrs. Elizabeth Champney gave this painting to Benjamin Zabina Stebbins (1865-1950) of Deerfield in 1921, which was later purchased from his daughter, Miss Marion Stebbins. The painting shows three boys playing hopscotch as three girls watch, one holding a hoop, and a river and rolling hills in the background. A preliminary sketch of the central figure in this painting (see copy in file) was in the collection of Dr. George H. Humphreys (1903-2001) of New York City, the son of Maria and John Humphreys, who had been the Valentine Mott Professor Emeritus of Surgery at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital.

children; play

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