A Faithful Student of Nature: The Life and Art of Samuel L. Gerry

March 18 through August 13, 2022
Online exhibition available at exhibitions.nhhistory.org

Samuel Lancaster Gerry (1813–91) was a prominent 19th-century artist who was particularly renowned for his paintings of New Hampshire, especially the White Mountains. His depictions of the state’s natural beauty were emblematic of many New Hampshire icons, such as the Old Man of the Mountain, Mount Washington, and the Flume. His paintings of these natural wonders helped shape the way Americans viewed New Hampshire and contributed to the rise of tourism to the state. Gerry’s landscapes typically featured detailed foregrounds that included horseback riders, farmers, fisherman, and even tourists and artists, set against dramatic, sweeping backgrounds that emphasized the majesty of New Hampshire’s mountains and lakes. Well-connected in the Boston art scene, Gerry also helped organize the city’s first art associations, wrote extensively on the artist’s craft, trained students, and collaborated with some of the finest artists of his time. The exhibition, A Faithful Student of Nature: The Life and Art of Samuel L. Gerry, associated publication, and public programs on Gerry’s life and art, all organized by the New Hampshire Historical Society, offered an in-depth look at his prolific career, which spanned nearly six decades during a period when American art came into its own.

Detail of the painting Fording the Stream by Samuel L. Gerry.


A Faithful Student of Nature: The Life and Art of Samuel L. Gerry was on view at the New Hampshire Historical Society from March 18 through August 13, 2022. The exhibition featured 38 of Gerry’s most significant works, with the majority coming from private collections. Also featured were paintings from the New Hampshire Historical Society’s own collection and from the collections of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Historic New England, Fenimore Art Museum, Revolutionary Spaces, and the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
Image of Samuel L. Gerry.

Online Exhibition

An online exhibition includes 52 of Gerry’s most well-known works and traces the story of his life. The online exhibition is a virtual presentation of the exhibition that was on view at the New Hampshire Historical Society, with additional paintings and archival material that cover Gerry’s travels in New England and Europe, his work as a teacher and mentor to other artists, and his role as a pillar of Boston’s art community for much of the 19th century. This website is perfect for anyone who wants a deeper look at Gerry’s life and art from the comfort of their own home. The online exhibition is available at exhibitions.nhhistory.org.
Cover of the 2021 issue of Historical New Hampshire.


A special issue of Historical New Hampshire, published in January 2022, features 52 full-color plates of Gerry’s works along with articles by Gerry scholar Charles Vogel, art historian Melissa Geisler Trafton, and an introduction by historian and journalist Mike Pride. New Hampshire Historical Society members received an exclusive members-only printing of this issue, and it was published in book form as well. Selling for $24.95, the book can be purchased at the Society, online through the Society’s store, or by calling 603-228-6688.
Detail from painting of Artist's Brook by Samuel L. Gerry.

Public Programs

The Society’s annual spring lecture series, titled “Capturing Eden: An Exploration of White Mountain Art,” examined the work of Gerry and his contemporaries within a broader context in four lectures held at the Society in April and May 2022. Presenters included author Howard Mansfield, historian Marcia Schmidt Blaine, and art historians Inez McDermott and Mark D. Mitchell. 
Detail of painting of Center Harbor, NH, by Samuel L. Gerry.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

A Faithful Student of Nature: The Life and Art of Samuel L. Gerry was made possible with support from P. Andrews and Linda H. McLane, Robert and Dorothy Goldberg Charitable Foundation, LandVest, Carolyn and Bryant Tolles, Robert O. and Jill C. Wilson, Michael Mooney and Robert Cram, Benjamin and Emily Clark, David and Susan Clark, Jackson Historical Society, G. Warren and Leslie W. Schomaker, and New Millenium Studios, LLC.