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Portait: Daniel Pierce ThompsonOil on canvas, c.
1855 Thomas Waterman Wood

Daniel Pierce Thompson's (1795-1868) lifelong love of Vermont led him to record oral histories of elderly Vermonters, which he included in his published novels, short stories, and histories of the state. His best-know work, The Green Mountain Boys (1839), chronicled Revolutionary War-era Vermont. It went through fifty editions by the 1860s and was a staple textbook for school children into the twentieth century. Thompson, a graduate of Middlebury College and resident of Montpelier, also practiced law and served as judge of probate for Washington County, as secretary of state, and was one of the founders of the Vermont Historical Society.

Thomas Waterman Wood (1823-1903), the son of a Montpelier cabinetmaker, grew up to become one of Americas most successful and respected artists of the late nineteenth century. This work displays an earlier, less academic style, picturing Thompson with Camel's Hump in the background (see other examples of Wood's work through-out the exhibit). When he painted this portrait Wood already had a successful studio in New York City and traveled around the U.S. and Canada doing commissions. In 1858 he went to Europe where he continued his studies copying famous paintings in Paris and Luxembourg. By the early 1860s Wood was living and working successfully in the South, painting portraits in Alabama, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. He moved back to New York City by 1862 and in 1871 was elected a full member of the National Academy of Design, and its president in 1891. Wood continued to do portraits, but he is just as well known for his genre painting. Many of his works showing everyday life included scenes from Montpelier and local people. Throughout his life Wood visited Montpelier and painted in his studio on the grounds of his home, Athenwood, which still stands today. Upon his death Wood bequeathed his paintings to the city of Montpelier and they can be seen today in the Wood Art Gallery.