to have had a succession of wealthy patrons willing to pay him large amounts of money for his
most ambitious paintings in pairs or series even
after the disastrous financial panic of 1837. Although it has been stated and repeated that American patrons wanted only American scenes from Cole, the example of Mayor Samuel A. Eliot of Boston, the original owner of Landscape with
Tower in Ruin (Plate 67) which he bought from
the artist, should be enough to refute such a notion. As it happened, Eliot actually turned down
the offer of Cole New England Scenery of 1839
( Art Institute of Chicago), painted on the same
size canvas, in favor of Landscape with Tower in
Ruin. This Italianate picture must have pleased
him more, probably because of its wealth of associations with the Old World. Thus, the second
larger pattern to be discerned in Cole's continuing success after 1832-1833 is discoverable in the
fact that his well-to-do, well-educated, and well-
traveled patrons -- men and women like Rufus
Lord, H. J. Hoyt, Miss H. Douglas, Charles
Lyman, Luman Reed, W. P. Van Rensselaer, Peter
G. Stuyvesant, and Samuel A. Eliot -- willingly
purchased his detailed descriptions or poetic evocations of Italy because, while remaining loyal
Americans, they still loved that country as a spiritual second home just as much as the artist did.
New-York Historical Society, Diary of William
Dunlap, 1766-1839, ed.
D. C. Barck, New York, 1930-1931, III, 629, 632, 634.
[ New York] Evening Post, No. 9456, New York,
Thursday, December 6, 1832, 2. Not content to limit
his chauvinistic panygyric to just painting, Dunlap
added a final attack on imported sculpture at the end
of this same notice: "They [ Morse and Cole] may be
believed, as they are not sculptors, when they tell us
that if our cities and states, when desirous of possessing works in marble would look to natives or resident
citizens for sculpture, instead of sending thousands of
orders to quacks, merely because they are Italians and
in Italy, the country may be better served and more
Basic biographical materials on these two artists
can be found in O. Larkin, Samuel F. B. Morse and
American Democratic Art, Boston and Toronto, 1954,
and L. Noble, The Life and Works of Thomas Cole, ed. E. Vesell, Cambridge, Mass., 1964.
For a full review of Morse's personal life and
financial arrangements, see
Staiti, 319-21 and
Larkin claim appears in his article "Two Yankee
Painters in Italy: Thomas Cole and Samuel Morse," American Quarterly, v, 1953, 195-200. Cole was in England in February and March of 1831, and by the
time he reached Florence in June, Morse had already
See D. Tatham, "Samuel F. B. Morse's Gallery of
the Louvre: The Figures in the Foreground," American
Art Journal, XIII, Autumn 1981, 38-46, and H. Crean, "Samuel F. B. Morse's Gallery of the Louvre: Tribute to
a Master and Diary of a Friendship,"ibid., XVI, Winter 1984, 76-81.
J. F Cooper to
H. Greenough, Paris, December
24, 1831, in The Letters and Journals of James Fenimore Cooper II, ed.
J. Beard, Cambridge, Mass., 1960, 167-68.
Larkin, 1953 (as in n. 5), 195-200, and Staiti, 322-36.
B. Novak, "'Americans in Italy: Arcady
Revisited," Nature and Culture: American Landscape and Painting, 1825-1875, New York, 1980, 203-204.
H. Merritt, Thomas Cole, Rochester, 1969, 31.