Within the broad range of the DCHS Hart-Hubbard Collection are the letters of Caroline Morgan Clowes, a member of the family who lived at the family estate Heartsease in LaGrange. Miss Clowes was a talented painter primarily of landscapes and farm animals, inspired by the Dutchess County farms and landscapes around her.
She became a member of, and was very involved in, the National Academy of Design (NAD) which was founded in 1826 as a more “democratic” and accessible alternative to the American Academy of the Fine Arts which was founded in 1802 by Chancellor Livingston and other elites.
The National Academy of Design’s (NAD) founders included Samuel F B Morse, who would of course come to live at Locust Grove, Poughkeepsie, Thomas Cole, and other artists. In a marked and purposeful distinction from the early academy, its membership only included artists
Miss Clowes found NAD attractive and welcoming. The 1876 Philadelphia US Centennial Exhibition marked an upward trajectory for NAD and Miss Clowes participated, not in the “women’s section” but in the main exhibition.
A letter in the collection reveals her role. Helen Hooker Stuyvesant Sanford, the great-great granddaughter of Peter Stuyvesant wrote to Clowes May 10, 1876 saying that she was the representative from Poughkeepsie to the Centennial and she would like to feature one of Clowe’s paintings. She wrote, “As a woman I am so proud of your beautiful animals, that I wish to have all the world see how much a woman can do…”
The painting was “The Alarm” which remains in the family, and is shown here.