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Robert Peckham's Life & Attributed Works

September 10, born Petersham, Massachusetts

January to April, studies with Ethan Allen Greenwood in Westminster James Humphreys, Jr. (Collection of Peter Tillou in 1976, signed "R. Peckham")

February 7, marries Ruth Sawyer of Bolton

Lives in Northhampton

March 16, "Respectfully informs his friends and the public, that he has taken the shop in South Street...where he intends to carry on, -PORTRAIT - SIGN - ORNAMENTAL, AND HOUSE PAINTING - GILDING - VARNISHING, &c in all its variety." (Hampshire Gazette)

May 17, with brother Samuel H. Peckham, advertises "House, Sign and Overmantel Painting. ALSO Gilding, Glazing, and Varnishing" (Hampshire Gazette)

March 13, posts notice that their business is closing

May 15, reports "Dissolution of Copartnership," which occurred on April 17 (Hampshire Gazette)

Lives in Bolton

c. 1817
The Peckham-Sawyer Family (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, trace of signature on lower right, "P" recognizable)

Betsey Baker Thurston Davis of Northboro, Massachusetts (oil on panel, known to be Peckham though payment record, sold at Doyle, New York, on November 20, 2008)


1830        Mary Edgell (formerly Whitney Museum, sold Sotheby's, New York, July 16, 1999, lot                     no. 265)


1831        Westminster Village (Forbush, Memorial Library, unsigned but inscribed on reverse,                     "Painted by Deacon Robert Peckham, Westminster")

                The Children of Oliver Adams (Charles N. Grichar)


c. 1832    George Peckham (artist's son; Margaret F. and William A. Wheeler III, inscribed "GR.                     Peckham" on collar)

                Ruth Peckham (artist's daughter; Margaret F. and William A. Wheeler III)

                Horace Lyman, John S. and Sarah Peckham (also known as The Children of                                 Reverend Samuel H. Peckham, Eugene Peckham, Binghamton, New York)


1833        Hutchins Hapgood and Elizabeth Hapgood (listed in Inventory of American                                Portraits; Mrs. Norman Hapgood, Petersham, Massachusetts)


1834        March 19 and 26, advertises in the Massachusetts Spy his portrait business in                             Westminster "at his room over Messrs. Davis and Washburn's office."

               March 24, visits Christopher Columbus Baldwin of the American Antiquarian Society,                    who records in his journal that Peckham is "not distinguished in his profession, tho he                succeeds tolerably well in obtaining likenesses and has always gained his living by his                art... His price is ten Dollars and his business is almost wholly in the country."

               George Wood (Forbrush Memorial Library)


c. 1843    Timothy Doty, His Wife Susan Cowee Doty and Son Pearson (Forbush                                        Memorial Library)


c. 1835    Sally Gates Brackett (Forbrush Memorial Library)

                Reverend William Chamberlain Jackson and Mrs. Jackson (both private                                     collection, California)

                Baby in Salmon Gown and Sister in Blue (private collection, Maine)

                Abigal Derby and Almond Derby (both private collection, Maine)

                Portrait of a Young Boy with a Toy Cat (at Sotheby's, New York, November 30, 1981, lot                 no. 1)

                Portrait of a Young Girl in a Pink Dress (at Christie's, New York, January 15 and                             19, 1999, lot no. 957)

c. 1836    Mrs. William Cowee with Music and William Cowee with Flute (both New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown)


Professor Edward Hitchcock Returning from a Journey

Attributed to Robert Peckham, Professor Edward Hitchcock Returning from a Journey, c.1838, oil on canvas mounted on board, Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts, Gift of Lucy and Caroline Hitchcock

1838        October 30, Amherst professor Edward Hitchcock writes, "Paid Dea[con] Robert Peckham (voucher enclosed) for 24 paintings of Geol. Specimens 18.00 for Board of himself & house 12 days...7.00" (Hitchcock papers in A & SC, Box 11, folder 13). Citation courtesy of Randall Griffey, curator, Mead Art Museum, Amherst College.


c. 1838     The Raymond Children (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)


c. 1840     The Hobby Horse (National Gallery of Art, Washington)

Rosa Heywood (Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia)

Lucy Brown (Forbush Memorial Library or Westminster Historical Society)

Charles Norton (at Kaminski Auctions, October 2, 2011, lot no. 5130)


c. 1840      A Pair of Portraits of a Lady and a Gentleman (Christie's, New York, January                               20, 2006, lot. no. 316)


c. 1840-50 oil sketches The Woes of Liquor (Intemperance) and The Happy Abstemious Family                   (Temperance) (signed, Worcester Historical Museum)

                  Nancy Spaulding Coolidge and Charles Coolidge (Forbush Memorial Library)


Robert Peckham, Nancy Spaulding Coolidge (l) and Charles Coolidge (r), c. 1840-1850, oil on canvas, Forbush Memorial Library, Westminster, Massachusetts

c. 1841   The Farwell Chidren (American Folk Art Museum, New York)

              Oliver Prescott, Daniel Prescott, and Elizabeth Prescott (Jaffrey, New Hampshire, Public LIbrary); reproduced in Luckey (see Bibliography), plates IV, V, and VI, inscribed "Robert Peckham pinxit."


c. 1842-50  Mrs. Joslin and Milton Joslin (Forbush Memorial Library)


1842        February 7, wife Ruth dies.

                Resigns deaconship.


c. 1842    Sarah Puffer Hubbard (Old Sturbridge Village)

                Newton Simeon Hubbard (Old Sturbridge Village, inscribed "Peckham" on reverse)


1843        April 1, marries Mahalath Griggs


c. 1843    Clinton Hager (Fruitlands Museum)


c. 1844    Webster Tucker (Jennifer and Tom Eddy)

               Charles L. Eaton and His Sister (attributed to Peckham, Fruitlands Museum)


1848-52   Listed in Worcester directories as a portrait painter


1849        Listed in The New-England Mercantile Union Business Directory with 87 Summer                         Street (Worcester) address


c.1849      Frances Gage Cousens and Humphrey Cousens (both private collection, Maine)



Henry Francis Walling, Map of Worcester County, Massachusetts, Based on the Trigonometrical Suvey of the State, detail. 1857, Courtesy of the Norman B. Levanthal Map Center at the Boston Public Library

1850        Excommunicated from the Congregational church in Westminster


1852-62   Possibly works in and travels between Worcester and Westminster, a distance of about twenty miles. He is listed as "R.Peckham, Portrait Painter" in the Westminster directory of H.F. Walling's 1857 Map of Worcester County, Based on the Trigonometircal Survey of the State.


1863        Living in Westminster


1877        Dies June 9, Westminster