Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Fanny Palmer

Frances Flora Bond Palmer (1812-1876), usually called Fanny, was perhaps the greatest of the artists who worked for the American printmaker, Nathaniel Currier and then Currier & Ives. She produced over 200 prints, both as the original artist and the lithographer.

Born in England, Fanny was trained in art as a young student at Mary Linwood’s School for young ladies and she later opened a drawing school in Leicester. By 1841, Fanny had formed a lithography business with her husband Edmund Seymour Palmer (called Seymour), Fanny providing the art and lithography and Edmund doing the printing. The couple emigrated to New York City in 1843, where they continued their business as F.&S. Palmer, lithographers. They provided images for a number of works, like the two prints above.

Unfortunately, the business was not successful and in 1849 Fanny began to work for Nathaniel Currier. Currier, known for his keen artistic eye and business sense, soon had Fanny working regularly for his firm. For about two decades, Fanny produced drawings and created lithographic designs on stone for Currier and then Currier & Ives.

Fanny was particularly skilled at architectural drawings, but her landscapes and genre pictures were also excellent. Her early prints often depicted scenes on Long Island, where she lived, but Fanny also created images of places further afield, including locations she never herself visited, such as the American West.
Her work, both in terms of artistic renderings and lithographic skill, is considered to be unsurpassed by any other Currier & Ives artist and her prints remain some of the most popular from the firm.

Recently, Katie Wood Kirchhoff, Associate Curator at the Shelburne Museum, and Dr. Stephanie Delamaire, Associate Curator of Fine Arts at Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, held a very interesting discussion of Fanny Palmer's work. This is available on line, which you can see by clicking on this link.

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