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

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, offer 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.


Visit the New Hampshire Historical Society at 30 Park Street, Concord, for an unprecedented look at 38 of Gerry’s most significant works, with the majority coming from private collections. Also featured are 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. The exhibition, A Faithful Student of Nature: The Life and Art of Samuel L. Gerry, is on view through August 13, 2022.
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 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 have already received an exclusive members-only printing of this issue, but it is available to the public 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,” examines the work of Gerry and his contemporaries within a broader context in five lectures held at the Society in April and May. Presenters include author Howard Mansfield, historians Dona Brown and Marcia Schmidt Blaine, and art historians Inez McDermott and Mark D. Mitchell. The spring lecture series is open only to members of the New Hampshire Historical Society as a benefit of membership at no additional charge. The public are welcome to become members for $50, which would include access to the lecture series. The lectures are held at 6 p.m. on Thursday evenings from April 14 to May 12, 2022. Space is limited and advance registration is required. For more information visit the Programs & Events Calendar.
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.
Cover of the 2021 issue of Historical New Hampshire.

You’re Invited

The New Hampshire Historical Society’s work to save, preserve, and share New Hampshire’s history depends on membership dues and contributions from people like you. To our members, we say thank you. And to all others who share our love of New Hampshire, we invite you to join today. When you join, you will receive this special issue of Historical New Hampshire focused on the life and art of Samuel L. Gerry, and many other benefits, including the opportunity to attend the spring lecture series.

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