Thomas Chambers (American, 1808 - 1866 or after ), The Connecticut Valley, mid 19th century, oil on canvas, Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch

The Connecticut ValleyThomas Chambers, Mid 19th Century

Thomas Chambers (1808-1869) left behind an extraordinarily flamboyant and innovative body of work. His style is expressive and decorative, with confident colouring and composition. His paintings depict landscapes and seascapes. He was obscure during his own lifetime, but his work has since come to be hailed as that of the first American ‘modern’ or ‘modernist’ painter. Almost nothing is known about him, and indeed his identity wasn’t even known until, in the 20th century, two signed paintings of his were discovered, so revealing his name. This painting of the Connecticut Valley is a fine example of his rich and playful style.


Thomas Chambers [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Wrap Up Your Painting

  • When looking at the background of the painting, what did you notice?
  • What three or four words did you use to describe the atmosphere of the painting?
  • When you imagined yourself into the painting what did your fingertips touch?
  • How did you feel about being in the painting?
  • Has your opinion of the painting altered in any way after doing this guided noticing exercise?
  • How do you feel now you’ve completed this activity? If you enjoyed it, why not add more Look at Paintings audio guides to your week? And don’t forget, you can take these guides with you to your local gallery and try them whilst standing in front of ‘real life’ art