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Picturing a World

Mary Bradish Titcomb

Although these young women date from some thirty years after the action of Where the Light Falls,, they immediately made me think of my characters sketching en plein air in Pont Aven, and I am specially grateful to a blog post at It’s About Time for introducing me to Mary Bradish Titcomb.

Bradish, who was born and raised in West Windham, N.H., spent most of her life in the Boston area, where she taught school and eventually became a professional artist. A job promotion in 1890 gave her the money to travel in Europe, study at private art academies and paint landscapes in Brittany among other places.

During her lifetime, her work was exhibited nationally; but after her death, she became what scholar Maria Tamboukou calls a “becoming-imperceptible woman artist.” (The fate of too many talented artists, musicians, and writers no matter what their sex!)

Bradish’s life overlaps with aspects of what I imagine for Jeanette Palmer’s artistic life in the years after her return from Paris and with Mattie Palmer’s independence as a single woman making her own living in New York City. I can’t really say she would ever turn up in one of my stories, but I love having found out about her.

For her life from a West Windham slant, click here.

For more of her work at the Athenaeum website, click here.

For her painting “The Writer” along with illustrations by her fellow artists at Boston’s Fenway Studios, click here.

I’d love to read Maria Tamboukou’s “Narratives as Assemblages: Mary Bradish Titcomb,”in In the Fold between Power and Desire: Women Artists’ Narratives (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010), p. 155ff; but so far, I have not been able to locate a copy of the book through interlibrary loan. The introduction to the volume is available at Google Books.

What is available as a pdf on-line is the lovely and complete catalogue: The Boston School Tradition: Truth, Beauty and Timeless Craft Boston: Vose Gallery, June 6–July 18, 2015. To view or download it, click here
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