At Home and Abroad: The Transcendental Landscapes of Christopher Pearse Cranch

October 12, 2007 - February 25, 2008



Chronology for Christopher Pearse Cranch



March 8. Christopher Pearse Cranch born in Alexandria, Virginia to Judge William and Nancy Greenleaf Cranch.



Graduates from Columbian College; enters Harvard Divinity School.



Graduates from Harvard; commences as a supply preacher.



March. Preaching in Portland, Maine.

May. Washington, D.C.

Summer. Travels to St. Louis and Cincinnati.

Reads Emerson's Nature (1836)



October through January. In Louisville where he substitutes for James Freeman Clarke, preaching and serving as acting editor and contributor to The Western Messenger. Clarke and Cranch begin "making comic illustrations of some of Emerson's quaint sentences." Reviews Emerson's Phi Beta Kappa Oration for the Messenger.



October. In Cincinnati, but is back in Louisville in late November.



January. Draws caricatures after Emerson's phrases with James Freeman Clarke.

May-June. In Philadelphia, supplying William Furness's pulpit. Furness borrows Cranch's caricatures.

December. Attends Emerson's lecture on The Present Age in Boston.



April. Portland, Maine.

May. Reads Swedenborg's Arcana Coelestia.

Contributes two poems to the first issue of The Dial; begins corresponding with Emerson culminating with a visit to Emerson in Concord in August.



July. Washington, D.C. Considers a new career path. Begins painting landscapes and receives "some instruction in the practical part of painting"...[1] from an unnamed friend in Washington.

October. Fishkill Landing, New York. Meets and becomes engaged to Elizabeth DeWindt.



Poem and biographical sketch included in Rufus W. Griswold's anthology Poets and Poetry of America.

September. Boston



January. Northampton, Massachusetts.

July. Pursues landscape painting seriously. Takes lessons from "Mr. McLeod" [William McLeod (1811-1892)]

October. Marries Elizabeth DeWindt and settles in New York City on Lexington and 22nd Street.



Cranch's Poems, dedicated to Emerson, is published by Carey and Hart.

Exhibits three landscapes at the National Academy of Design, New York.

In New Haven, Connecticut.



August. Visits Brook Farm, West Roxbury, Massachusetts.



January. Enrolls in the Antique School of the National Academy of Design.

July. Sketched with Cropsey, John Falconer and Asher B. Durand.

August 1. Cranch sails for Europe on the Nebraska with his wife and George William Curtis.

September 16. Arrive in Marseilles and in October, settle in Rome on Via Sistina.



February 21 sketched with George Loring Brown in Pamfili Doria

March 11. Birth of son George.

Summer. Cranch travels to Albano, Castel Gandolfo, Tivoli, Palestrina, Olevano, Civitella, Subiaco.

October. Second trip to Albano with Cropsey and Margaret Fuller.



April. Naples; ascends Vesuvius; visits Pompeii.

May. Cranch family travels to Sorrento where they remain until September.

June 4. Second child, daughter Leonora, is born.

July. Trip to Amalfi with Cropsey and to Capri with Cropsey and William Wetmore Story. In August the trio makes a second trip to Amalfi; Cranch visits Paestum, Amalfi, and Salerno.

September. Cranch family moves to Florence; they meet the Brownings; Elizabeth Barrett Browning critiques Cranch's Bird and the Bell.



Return to New York after a 45-day crossing on a packet ship.



Elected an Associate of National Academy of Design.

Summer in Sheffield, Massachusetts.

October. Sketching in Catskill Clove and Tannersville, N.Y. with Asher Durand.



Summer. Cranch rents the "red house" Hawthorne and family had left the previous autumn in Lenox, Massachusetts.

July. Death of family members A. J. Downing and mother-in-law Mrs. DeWindt in a steamboat accident on the Hudson River.

September. Lake George; visits Jervis McEntee at Rondout and Lake Shawagunk.

Cranch's article "Painter in the Woods" is published in Sartain's Union Magazine.

Elected member of the Century Association, New York.



May. Birth of third child, daughter Caroline (Carrie).

July. Shandaken, New York, probably with Durand, and at Rondout and Canaan Falls.

August. Niagara; writes lyrics for Farewell to America for Jenny Lind, sung at Castle Garden in New York City.

October. Sails for Europe on the Germania for decade based in Paris.



Exhibits Niagara: La chute americaine and Niagara: La chute canadienne at the Paris Salon, Exposition Universelle; writes two reviews for The Crayon; makes acquaintance of James Russell Lowell.

July. London with James Russell Lowell; visits the Brownings, the Storys, and W. M. Thackeray.

August 7. Fourth child, son Quincy, is born.

December. Cranch's children's book, The Last of the Huggermuggers is published. Cranch claims "I am... so full of orders, 'chose rare pour moi.'" [2]



June. First trip to Barbizon; his article on "French Landscape" published in The Crayon.

October. Second trip to Barbizon; stays at Vannier's.

December. Second children's book, Kobboltozo, is published.



Exhibits four landscapes at Paris Salon; L'automne; soleil couchant is hung "on the line."

July-September. Switzerland: Lake Geneva, Vevay, Lausanne, Lucerne, Mont Blanc.

Autumn. Locust Grove, the DeWindt homestead in Fishkill, New York burns and many of Cranch's papers are destroyed.



June-July. Barbizon and Fontainebleau; with John W. Casilear who is "not well."

July-September. Second trip to Switzerland.

November. Travels to Rome where he spends six months in a studio on Via Sistina; sees Hawthorne, the Brownings, and the Storys.



Cranch's photograph taken in Rome; visits the Nathaniel Hawthornes.

May. Returns to Paris.



Exhibits at Paris Salon. Copies Felix Ziem Venetian scene in Luxembourg Gallery and visits Ziem in his studio who gives him addresses in Venice.

September. Venice; stays on Riva dei Schiavoni.

October. Fontainebleau.



Exhibits one landscape at Paris Salon. Becomes a correspondent for The New York Evening Post.



September 2. In Milan, Italy en route to Venice.

Serving as a correspondent of the New York Evening Post.



May. Venice, accompanied by artists A. H. Bicknell and Albertus H. Baldwin

July. Returns to New York on the steamer Hansa.

Autumn. Rondout with Jervis McEntee and Eastman Johnson.



Elected Academician of National Academy of Design on the merit of his Venice in Tricolors; begins work translating Virgil's Aeneid.

August in Carthage, N.Y.



July. In Pittsfield, Massachusetts



September. Son George dies of lung infection.



August. Ashfield, Massachusetts with John Kensett at the home of George William Curtis.

Edits The Fraternity Papers.



Edits The Owl, semi-monthly supplement to Fraternity Papers.



Moves to West New Brighton, Staten Island, New York to Hoity-Toity Cottage.



Cranch's translation of Virgil's Aeneid is published.



Moves to Cambridge, Massachusetts. Satan: A Libretto is published.



April 19. Read his "Modern Pegasus" at Boston Radical Club and sat next to Ralph Waldo Emerson.

April 27. Sends a landscape painting and copy of Satan to Emerson who, in return, issues a dinner invitation.

June. Delivers Phi Beta Kappa Poem at Harvard; is made honorary member of Phi Beta Kappa Society.



July-August. Little Boar's Head, North Hampton, New Hampshire and York Beach, Maine.

November. Son Quincy dies at sea.

December. Attends Moncure Conway's lecture on the "Natural History of the Devil" at Horticultural Hall.

The Bird and the Bell and other Poems is published.



March 8. Learns of son Quincy's death on his sixty-third birthday.

Summer. York Beach, Maine and Petersham, New Hampshire.

Visits the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.



Begins to draw primarily in charcoal.

August. York, Maine.



August. Annisquam, Massachusetts



March-May. New York City.

Autumn. Resumes Sunday Club activities in Cambridge; reads paper on Wordsworth;

October. Cranch reads "Unconscious Life" before the Sunday Club;

November 12. Hears Emerson read his paper on Memory, at C.C. Everett's.



June. Travels to Europe with wife and daughter Carrie, for two years. Visits Paris, Rome, Venice, and London.



April. In Venice with Henry James, Sr.



March. Views the Impressionist exhibition and describes it as "the work of lunatics." Summer. Return to America.

August. Magnolia, Massachusetts.

October. Exhibits with daughter Carrie at Chase's Gallery, Boston.



Spends two years in New York City; rents Cambridge house to W. T. Richards.

Frequents the Century Club and resumes exhibiting at National Academy of Design, submitting two Venetian landscapes.

Volume of poetry, Ariel and Caliban, is published.



Exhibits for the last time at the National Academy of Design. Returns home to Cambridge.



January. Participates in Robert Browning Memorial Service in King's Chapel, Boston.

Summer on Gerrish Island, Maine.



May. Moves to New York City.



January 20. Christopher Pearse Cranch dies at home at 27 Ellery Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts.


1 Letter to John Sullivan Dwight, July 22, 1841, Cranch Papers in Massachusetts Historical Society (hereafter cited as "MHS")

2 Letter to George L. Stearns, December 25, 1855, in Cranch Papers, MHS.

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