Enriching today’s décor with exceptional paintings from the past

James Hope (American ca. 1818 – 1892) Watkins Glen Rainbow Falls

Oil on canvas, 15.5 x 11.5 inches/Signed lower left

Hope was born in Roxboroughshire, Scotland and immigrated to Canada with his father in 1831. Tradition has it that Hope walked from his boyhood farm to Fairhaven, Vermont, where he was apprenticed to a wagon-maker. At the end of his five-year apprenticeship, he used his money to spend a year at Castleton Seminary (now Castleton State College). An injury to his ankle kept him homebound, where the luxury of leisure time saw him practicing portraiture. Having natural talent combined with his practice during his convalescence allowed him to set up a successful portraiture practice in West Rutland, Vermont in 1843. Montreal, Canada at the time proved to be a more lucrative market for portraiture and Hope spent 1844 to 1846 there, plying his trade. Upon his return to Vermont, Hope built a home in Castleton, where he taught painting at the Seminary. Although a skilled portraitist, was drawn to landscape painting and began to paint the scenery of the area. The remainder of his career was dedicated to landscape painting. Shortly after his move to Castleton, he opened a studio in New York City, painting there during the winter, returning to Castleton during the summer. He was perhaps motivated by the famous Hudson River School artist, Frederick Church, who, in 1849, had exhibited his landscapes at nearby Clarendon Springs. Hope served as a Captain with Regiment B of the 2nd Vermont Infantry during the American Civil War. He made battle scene sketches, most notably of the bloody battle of Antietam, which he translated into a series of five large paintings following the war. In 1872, Hope moved to Watkins Glen, Pennsylvania and opened a gallery where he displayed his famous Civil War panoramas and his other artworks, most notably those of the Rainbow Falls. The gallery fell into disrepair after his death in 1892 and in 1932 was flooded destroying much of his work and inflicting heavy damage on his battle scene paintings. During his lifetime he was a member of the Brooklyn Art Association, American Art Union and elected an associate member of the National Academy of Design where he also exhibited. In addition, Hope exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

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