British art critic whose ideas inspired the English and American Pre-Raphaelite movements.
In January 1863, Thomas Charles Farrer, an English expatriate artist living in New York, convened the first meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Truth in Art. Among its members were artists who, like Farrer, rejected the mainstream practice of art. Instead, they heeded the call of art critic
The following list of known members of the Association, with a selection of others in the circle of the American Pre-Raphaelites, is drawn from the catalog of the exhibition The American Pre-Raphaelites: Radical Realists.
Association member, journalist, advocate for abolition and women’s rights. First female writer for the New-York Daily Tribune and founding editor of Harper’s Bazar [sic] (1867–1889). Held salons at family home in Brooklyn. Her circle included T. C. and Annie Farrer, Sarah Strong Tuthill, and the Fords.
Artist, student of W. T. Richards. A watercolor specialist who also provided images for chromolithographs published by Louis Prang & Co.
Elisabeth Luther Cary
Editor, art critic, author, and American Pre-Raphaelite collector; daughter of Edward Cary. Began publishing the journal The Scrip in 1905; first full-time art editor of the New York Times (1908–1936).
Association member, editor of The New Path, critic, poet. Architectural drawing instructor at the Cooper Union. Editor of The Independent, then The New Path, and in 1864 became art critic for the New-York Daily Tribune. Published The House Beautiful (1878) and What Shall We Do with Our Walls? (1881), central texts of the American Aesthetic movement.
Louisa De Windt Whittemore Cook
Association member, wife of Clarence Cook. Suggested the title for The New Path. Clarence Cook dedicated The House Beautiful to her; she published a volume of his poems two years after his death.
Eugene T. Gardner at meeting on February 18, 1863). Civil engineer and prominent figure in Troy, NY; trustee of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.Honorary Association member (nominated by
T. C. Farrer. Graduated from Rutgers Female Institute in 1855, where she may have taken drawing classes. Moved to England with Farrer around 1871.Association member, wife of
Printmaker and watercolor artist; younger brother and pupil of T. C. Farrer who emigrated about 1862 (after T. C., who emigrated in 1858). A founder of and longtime exhibitor at the American Watercolor Society.
Thomas Charles Farrer
Association founder, contributor to The New Path, artist in oil, watercolor, and later a printmaker. Studied in London with John Ruskin and Dante Gabriel Rossetti at the Working Men’s College. In the United States from late 1858 to 1871, when he returned to England; served in Union army in spring/ summer 1862; instructor at Cooper Union School of Design for Women, 1861–1865.
T. C. Farrer as drawing instructor in 1861. Married to Henry M. Field, Presbyterian minister and abolitionist. Her salon at their Gramercy Park residence attracted artists (Eastman Johnson was a friend) and literati. Hosted Association meeting on March 17, 1863.
Newspaperman, bibliophile, lawyer, American Pre-Raphaelite collector, philanthropist. Business manager of New York Tribune. In 1863, became publisher of the Brooklyn Union, an abolitionist pro-Union paper. Helped found Brooklyn Art Association.
Clarence King. Traveled west with King, joined US Engineer Corps; surveyed Yosemite Valley in 1864. Appointed chief topographer of Fortieth Parallel Survey; later director of New York State [Geological] Survey.Association member, topographer, civil engineer. Friend and Yale classmate of
T. C. Farrer in the University Building, NY. Left the United States to settle abroad in 1870.Artist and illustrator; neighbor of
John Henry Hill
Association member, contributor to The New Path, artist in oil and watercolor and printmaker. Son of John William Hill. Like his father, an early convert to Ruskinian “truth to nature.” In 1868 traveled west as staff artist for fellow member Clarence King’s geological survey expedition. Sojourned at Lake George in the early 1870s, returning to the family homestead at West Nyack, NY, upon the death of his father in 1879.
John William Hill
Association member and first president, artist in oil and watercolor and printmaker. Father of John Henry Hill and known as “Poppy” Hill. Topographical approach and technique of father and son transformed following the publication of Ruskin’s Modern Painters. They welcomed T. C. Farrer to their West Nyack homestead shortly after his arrival in the United States.
Association member, mother of Clarence King. From a Rhode Island family with strong abolitionist and temperance leanings. After the death of her husband (Clarence King’s father), she married Brooklyn merchant George S. Howland, who supported King at the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale.
Clarence R. King
Association member, geologist. Headed Fortieth Parallel Survey from 1867 to 1872. Became director of the US Geological Survey in 1879. Met John Ruskin in England in 1883 and reportedly purchased two J. M. W. Turner paintings from Ruskin.
Subscriber to The New Path, decorative painter. Attended Association meeting on February 23, 1865. Student of T. C. Farrer and later of Ford Madox Brown, and Edward Burne-Jones in London. Member, National Society of Mural Painters; assisted John La Farge with wall paintings for Trinity Church, Boston. Selected by Clarence Cook to illustrate The House Beautiful.
John Matthews Jr.
Association member, brother-in-law of Carl Muller, manufacturer of soda fountains (invented by his father) famous for their elaborate ornamentation.
Margaret J. Mcdonald
Artist in watercolor and decorative painting, teacher. Student of T. C. Farrer. Attended Cooper Union School of Design for Women and member, American Watercolor Society.
Charles Herbert Moore
Association member, artist in oil and watercolor and printmaker, contributor to The New Path. In 1871 accepted Charles Eliot Norton’s invitation to teach drawing at Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard; in 1875, transferred to Harvard College faculty to teach art history with Norton. First curator and director of the Fogg Art Museum. On his retirement in 1909, settled in England.
Attended Association meeting on February 4, 1863, with member and brother-in-law John Matthews Jr.; sculptor and designer for Union Porcelain Works in Brooklyn.
Henry Roderick Newman
Association member, artist (specialist in watercolor); mentored by T. C. Farrer; taught at Cooper Union, 1864–1866. In 1870, traveled to Europe; settled in Florence in 1874. In 1877, Charles Herbert Moore introduced his work to Ruskin, who became a patron. Made first trip to Egypt in 1887–1888, returning nearly every winter thereafter; traveled to Japan in 1896–1897.
Charles Eliot Norton
Ruskin’s literary executor and a lifetime friend. Used his positions as editor of The North American Review and founder of The Nation to promote the American Pre-Raphaelite movement. In 1871 Norton enlisted Charles Herbert Moore to teach drawing at Harvard’s Lawrence Scientific School.
William James Stillman
Painter, photographer, writer, editor, diplomat. Met Ruskin in 1850 and became familiar with the British Pre-Raphaelites. Cofounder of The Crayon in 1855; contributor to The New Path. Keen woodsman and associate of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Following the death of his first wife, married Pre-Raphaelite artist and model Marie Spartali in 1871; settled in England.
Russell Sturgis Jr.
Association member, architect, critic, contributor to The New Path. Attended the Free Academy (later City College) of New York with James Lyman Van Buren and close friend Peter Wight. Strong proponent of Gothic architecture; designed Battell Chapel and Durfee Hall at Yale. Appointed professor of architecture at City College and in 1893, awarded university’s first honorary doctorate. Art critic of The Nation and contributor to The North American Review.
Sarah Strong Tuthill
Association member, art teacher. Graduate of Mount Holyoke Seminary. Taught in Chicago, Bridgeport, CT, and at a women’s college in Alabama at the start of the Civil War. In 1863, began long tenure as art teacher at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, CT. Taught nephew Robert Brandegee, who succeeded her at Miss Porter’s School. Joined Mary L. Booth and others in advocating for women’s rights. Exhibited at American Watercolor Society, 1867–1868.
James Lyman van Buren
Association member, lawyer, soldier. Cousin of President Martin Van Buren. Scholar of modern languages. Second lieutenant and later brigadier general in Union army; fought alongside General Grant in the Richmond campaign. Sturgis signed for him at last the Association meeting. Died in 1866 of illnesses contracted during his military service.
Peter Bonnett Wight
Association member, architect, critic, contributor to The New Path. Proponent of Ruskin’s polychromatic Italianate Gothic architectural style. Won competition for first permanent building of the National Academy of Design (1865), architect for the Yale School of Fine Arts building (1867). Rebuilt residences and commercial buildings after Great Chicago Fire (1871), developing fire-proofing construction technology. Published a memoir of the American Pre-Raphaelite movement in The Development of Fine Arts in America in 1884.