Nantucket Historical Association Acquires Significant William Trost Richards Painting

NANTUCKET, MA – The Trustees of the Nantucket Historical Association (NHA) are pleased to announce the acquisition of a significant painting that captures the beauty of the Nantucket coastline. The acquisition of Nantucket Shore, by William Trost Richards (1833-1905), was made possible through the generous support of the Friends of the Nantucket Historical Association.

Nantucket Shore depicts a stunning view of a Nantucket beach. It is an oil on panel and measures 10 ¾ inches by 20 inches. Richards began painting New England shorelines in the 1860s. In 1865, he spent the summer on Nantucket and painted this panoramic view. Noted nineteenth-century art critic George William Sheldon described Richards’ Nantucket paintings as “remarkable for their loving and elaborate reproduction of surf, breaker, wave, and sand.”

Nantucket Shore will be included in Two Hundred Years of American Art on Nantucket: Pairings from the NHA and Private Collections. The exhibition will display over thirty works of art from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and opens to the public on June 15 at the Whaling Museum in the Williams Forsyth Gallery. “Nantucket Shore is quite rare and beautiful,” says Dr. Anne Classen Knutson, guest curator of the exhibition. “It shows Richards in the process of developing the style of marine painting that would make him famous later in his career.”

Steve Langer, Chair of the Friends Acquisitions Committee, led the campaign to acquire the work and calls it “the finest painting that has become available to us during my five years on the Acquisitions Committee.” Kelly Williams, President of the NHA, notes that Richards only painted six Nantucket scenes, underscoring the rarity and value of this painting.

“On behalf of the NHA membership, we thank the Friends for acquiring this important work,” states James Russell, Gosnell Executive Director. “Now generations of Nantucketers can enjoy and learn from this important artist. The Friends’ focus on acquiring significant works, as witnessed in abundance over the past twelve months alone, is exemplary and is a tremendous credit to the group.”


The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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