Comparing the Work of Frank Childs

childs unidentified.jpgFrank Childs, [Unidentified scene], 1800s.
Oil on canvas. Private collection.
childs morven.jpgAttributed to Frank Childs, [View of Morven Museum and Garden, Princeton, New Jersey], ca. 1860. Oil on canvas.
On loan to Morven Museum from a private collector.

Earlier this week, we had the good fortunate to view several framed works by the 19th-century American painter Frank Childs side-by-side. Happily, the topographic view seen here at the top is signed and so, we can now confidently attribute the view of Morven Museum and Gardens to Childs.

childs signature.jpg

Unfortunately, Princeton University Library’s view of Nassau Hall (after 1859) remains a mystery. Unlike the other two, it is painted on a prepared board rather than stretched canvas. The foliage so carefully rendered on the other two paintings as well as on Childs’ prints of Nassau Hall, has disappeared and the trees are bare. Other differences are evident, which leads us to believe it might have been painted later, possibly commissioned for an alumnus after one of Childs’ two published prints. Our sincere thanks to Elizabeth G. Allan, Curator of Collections & Exhibitions, Morven Museum & Garden; Joseph J. Felcone, antiquarian bookseller; and collector David Doret for their help with this project.

childs comparison.jpg
childs print.jpg

See also: