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Fine Art, Fish and Shells, Beach Theme, Nantucket, Harriet Lord, Antique Painting


Harriet Lord (1879-1958)
[Fish and Shells]
American: c. 2nd Quarter 20th Century
Gouache and graphite on colored paper, mounted on board
Monogrammed lower left: “HL”
16.25 x 20 inches, image
16.75 x 20.75 inches, overall

Gouache painting of five small fish and three open half shells by Harriet Lord, an artist closely associated with Nantucket. They are rendered in Lord’s characteristic painterly style, employing loose brushwork and scumbling. In this instance she used opaque thin layers in white, green, blue, yellow and pink to capture the textures and iridescence of the fish and the shell interiors. The gray-green color of the paper is left unpainted as the background, which makes the white highlights glow. The painting has a hand-painted dark brown border.

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The artist’s monogram, “HL” in a rectangle lower left becomes part of the composition, a device she perhaps borrowed from Japanese art. Although the artist more frequently signed her works by printing her full name, another example of a work signed with initials in the lower left is a drawing entitled “The Artist’s Studio from the Chopping Bowl,” issued as a postcard.

Harriet Lord was an American painter, best known for her landscapes, portraits and still lifes. She attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston where she studied with Frank W. Benson, Edmund C. Tarbell, and Joseph de Camp. She later took lessons from William. L. Lathrop and Frank Swift Chase. In 1917, Lord moved to New York City, where she exhibited with the National Association of Women Artists and developed a reputation for large oils of the marshes of Ipswich, Massachusetts. A review in the New York Times praised one such painting, exhibited with the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors at New York’s Anderson Gallery in 1921, for “a perspective skillfully managed to suggest far distances and many planes without interfering with the clarity of atmosphere.” She was a member exhibitor of the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston from 1924 to 1927. After 1926, she started spending summers on Nantucket, where she was an active member of the art colony. She exhibited there at the Red Anchor Studio for over three decades and at the Easy Street Gallery. She participated in the Artists Association of Nantucket and sat on its first board. Numerous paintings by Lord are shown online in The Nantucket Art Colony, 1920-45, a “digital exhibition” by the Nantucket Historical Association (see References below).

Condition: Generally fine overall, with only minor toning, handling wear. Mounted, as issued, on thick cardstock board, apparently stable and not affecting the artwork.


“Art Exhibitions of Paintings.” New York Times. 27 February 1921. (6 February 2014).

“Lord, Harriet.” Artists Association of Nantucket. (6 February 2014).

“The Artist’s Studio from the Chopping Bowl. Drawing by Harriet Lord.” (issued as a postcard).

“The Nantucket Art Colony, 1920-45: Harriet Lord (1879-1958).” Nantucket Historical Association. (6 February 2014).

Additional information


20th Century