William Sidney Mount

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William Sidney Mount
Mathew B. Brady - William Sidney Mount.jpg
Daguerreotype photograph of Mount
by Mathew B. Brady, c. 1855
BornNovember 26, 1807
DiedNovember 19, 1868 (1868-11-20) (aged 60)
Setauket, New York
Known forGenre, landscape, portrait painting, and violin design

William Sidney Mount (November 26, 1807 – November 19, 1868) was an American painter best known for his genre paintings, although he also painted landscapes and portraits. He was a contemporary of the Hudson River School.


William Mount was born in Setauket, Long Island, New York, on November 26, 1807 to Julia Ann Hawkins and Thomas Shepard Mount, her husband. He trained at the National Academy of Design in New York City, and in 1832 was made a full academician. He died in Setauket on November 19, 1868.[1]

Although he started as a history painter, Mount moved to depicting scenes from everyday life. Two of his more famous paintings are Eel Spearing at Setauket (1845, New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown) and Bargaining for a Horse (1835, New-York Historical Society, New York City).[citation needed]

The largest collection of his works is located in the Long Island Museum of American Art, History, and Carriages.[2]

Musical legacy[edit]

Studio of William S. Mount by Shepard Alonzo Mount

In addition to his painting, William Sidney Mount was a respected player and composer of the fiddle. He patented his own type of fiddle, the Cradle of Harmony, which had a curved hollow back that produced a sound louder than a standard violin.

William Sidney Mount House and other monuments[edit]

1867 ambrotype print

His home and studio, the William Sidney Mount House, is a National Historic Landmark. One of the local elementary schools in The Three Village Central School District is named in his honor, as is PS 174 elementary school in Rego Park, Queens.[3] A residential building located in the Roth Quad on the Stony Brook University campus is named after him.[citation needed]


His brother, Shepard Alonzo Mount (1804–1868), also an artist, best known as a portrait painter, became a National Academician in 1842.[1] His niece Evelina Mount was also an artist; associated with the Hudson River School, she got some of her training from William and is known to have copied his paintings on occasion.[4]


  1. ^ a b Chisholm 1911.
  2. ^ "About the Museum – The Long Island Museum". Retrieved Oct 14, 2019.
  3. ^ "Q174". nyc.gov. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  4. ^ Black, M. American Paintings in the Detroit Institute of Arts: Works by Artists Born Before 1816, vol. I. Detroit, Michigan, 1991, p. 140.

Further reading[edit]

  • Christopher J. Smith, The Creolization of American Culture: William Sidney Mount and the Roots of Blackface Minstrelsy. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2013.
  • Frankenstein, Alfred. William Sidney Mount. New York: Abrams, 1975.

External links[edit]