Thanksgiving, 1859

George Henry Boughton (1833-1905)
Date: 1859
Medium: Pencil on paper
Dimensions: 6 7/16 H x 6 1/8 W

Inscribed along lower edge: G. H. Boughton / Thanksgiving 1859 / For Fanny B. Palmer

Credit: Gift of John Palmer Gavit
Accession Number: 1932.7.1

Drawings by George Boughton—including this lovely snow scene, sketched with apparent effortlessness—are among the best examples of nineteenth-century American draftsmanship. Yet the artist is little known today, possibly because he moved in 1862 from America to England. The scene includes several symbolic elements. Winter is the season of death, and this theme is carried out by the skeleton and the ominous, empty skiff in the foreground. Spring, however, is not far off. The symbol of hope is the crow or raven (Noah sent a raven from the ark to look for land), and Boughton has supplied the bleak scene with several of the birds.