Fine Art Collection

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Fine Art Collection

Spring Landscape
by J. Appleton Brown
c. 1870s
colored chalks on off-white wove paper

The fine art collection numbers about 2000 works of art, both on exhibit and in storage. It includes paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture, and ranges in date from the seventeenth to early twentieth century.

The collection showcases the tastes and interests of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), his wife, Frances (Fanny) Appleton Longfellow (1817-1861), their children, and other family members and friends.  

Frances Appleton
by Lorenzo Bartolini
Rome, Italy
marble bust

Significant parts of the collection include the sculptures formerly owned by Longfellow’s close friend, Charles Sumner, and the art collection of Fanny Longfellow’s brother, Thomas Gold Appleton.  

Artists represented include: 

  • John Kensett
  • Eastman Johnson
  • George Loring Brown
  • John Enneking
  • J. Appleton Brown
  • Florence Freeman
  • Anna Klumpke
  • Rose Lamb
  • Ellen Robbins
  • Francis Alexander
  • William Morris Hunt
  • George Healy
  • Thomas Crawford
  • Winckworth Allan Gay.

Also included are works by earlier American masters, such as Washington Allston, Gilbert Stuart, and Mather Brown.


Charles Sumner by Eastman Johnson
Charles Sumner
by Eastman Johnson
Boston, Massachusetts
crayon and chalk on tan wove paper

Of particular note for their fine quality are crayon portraits by Eastman Johnson, commissioned by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow of his family and friends in the mid-1840s.   These include portraits of:

  • Charles Sumner
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Cornelius Conway Felton
  • Henry W. Longfellow
  • Anne Longfellow Pierce
  • Mary Longfellow Greenleaf
  • Charles Longfellow
  • Ernest Longfellow.

Interior of St. Bavo Church, Haarlem
by Daniel de Blieck
oil on canvas

In addition to the American artists, well-known nineteenth-century English, French, German, Italian and Danish born artists are represented in the collection, including Albert Bierstadt, Jean Baptiste Camille Corot, Myles Birket Foster, Eugene and Jean Baptiste Isabey, Samuel Prout, Friedrick Overbeck, Pierre Jules Mene, Lorenzo Bartolini, J.E.C. Petersen and Jacques Louis David (attr. to).   A 1664 church interior by Dutch painter Daniel de Blieck is included in the collection, as well.

Several of the rooms contain painted nineteenth-century Japanese screens, including one six-paneled screen by Kano Moritsume.


Mary King Longfellow in her studio
Photograph of Mary King Longfellow painting at the Craigie House
Cambridge, Massachusetts

c. 1870s

Most of the collection is personal in nature, including gifts from artists the family met or knew, or purchases made during their travels.

Professional and amateur works of art done by family members figure prominently in the collection, and are linked to the family papers in the archives. Included are works by professionally trained artists Ernest Longfellow, Harriet Spelman Longfellow and Mary King Longfellow, as well as works by other family artists including Henry W. Longfellow, Thomas Gold Appleton, Fanny Appleton Longfellow, Samuel Longfellow, and Alexander W. Longfellow Jr.    

Watercolor of a man carrying oars from a house to a boat
Summer Scene
by Edith Longfellow
c. 1860
In addition, there are approximately 600 drawings and watercolors done by the Longfellow children in the 1850s and 1860s with many of them annotated by Henry W. Longfellow as to date, artist and location.

Silhouette of Peleg Wadsworth
Peleg Wadsworth

View reverse side of Wadsworth silhouette

There are approximately fifty silhouette portraits of Longfellow, his extended family, and others by artists such as W. King, Master Hubbard and Auguste Edouard.



© 2004 Longfellow National Historic Site