Thomas Doughty

1793 - 1856

American landscape painter

Thomas Doughty Biography

Thomas Doughty, a native of Philadelphia, was one of the first American landscape painters. He was also an early member of the Hudson River School: a group of painters who painted views of the area around the Catskill Mountains in New York State. When he was sixteen, Doughty began a career as a businessman which he continued until he was twenty-seven. At that age, he decided that the leather business did not suit him and, having taken a few lessons in sepia drawing, started out as an artist. He went abroad but did not take any further lessons. He stayed in Paris for a long time, working on his drawing, and then spent a brief period in London, still drawing constantly.

Returning to Philadelphia in 1920, Doughty was soon listed in the city directory as a landscapist. By 1924 he was commissioned to illustrate James Fenimore Cooper's novel "Pioneers". Exhibitions of his works were held in 1826 at the National Academy of Design, and in 1833 at the Boston Athenaeum. He set up a studio in Boston but again made short trips to Europe in 1835 and 1845. He worked there and in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, painting scenes of the Hudson, Delaware, Susquehanna, Seine, and Thames rivers. Doughty painting was lyrical and intimate in feeling, yet retained the sensation of broad space and limitless horizons. A painter of the "leaf school" of the Hudson River artists, he gave his landscapes variety by his rendering of native trees in a manner reminiscent of the mistier painters of the Barbizon School and of the softness of Constable's landscape sketches.