A View of 19th Century Middletown

January 29, 2018 · Collections ·

This past April, the CHS was pleased to acquire from Nathan Liverant & Sons a delightful folk art landscape view of Middletown, CT by an unknown artist. This c. 1870-1890 landscape, done in colored pencil, gouache and ink on paper provides a detailed visual depiction of this important river town.

From the south, looking north towards the town center, the landscape features the buildings and fields of the Town Farms, and off in the distance the imposing brick buildings of the new General Hospital for Insane of the State of Connecticut (today the Connecticut Valley Hospital). In addition to the built environment, the piece also shows the natural landscape, as the Connecticut River features prominently and is dotted with several vessels including a large double stack, side-wheeler steamship.

Chief Curator Ilene Frank remarked that the CHS was extremely interested in this landscape as the CHS does not have other views of Middletown from this perspective in the collection. “Not only is it a charming pictorial depiction of the town, but it also provides insight into how Middletown and Connecticut addressed issues such as poverty and mental health in the late 19th century.”

The CHS thanks Arthur Liverant and Kevin Tulimieri for contacting us when the piece became available for purchase. Members, donors and supporters like you make it possible for us to acquire these important documents of Connecticut’s past.

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