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Henrietta Marshall Latham Dwight

(1840-1909)

Early California Watercolorist

by Frank Goss




Table of Contents



Rise at East Beach (High and Dry)
c. 1890
5.75" x 17.5"
Watercolor on paper
Private Collection

I. BIOGRAPHY

Henrietta Marshall was born to Charles Manchester Marshall of England and Henrietta Cole of Kentucky on October 21, 1840 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The date of her arrival in California is unknown. However, on November 27, 1860, she was in Oakland, California, when at the age of twenty she married James Hoge Latham of Columbus, Ohio. Latham's brother was Milton S. Latham, California's sixth governor and a prominent California senator. Milton S. Latham came to California in 1850, shortly after the Gold Rush began, and made his fortune before he was thirty. It may be that his brother James came to California with him in 1850.

James & Henrietta (Marshall) Latham had three children: Charles in September 1861, Milton in January 1863, and a daughter Edith, who was born in Virginia City, Nevada in October 1866. Their daughter's birth in Virginia City, an important mining town, may indicate an involvement in Gold Rush activities. James Latham died aboard a ship in June 1876, widowing Henrietta and leaving her with children aged 10, 13 and 15. Sometime before 1882 she married a Mr. Dwight, about whom little is known. As Henrietta Latham Dwight, she purchased Thrulow Lodge, an impressive fifty-room mansion in Menlo Park built by Milton S. Latham (her former brother-in-law) while he was at the height of his success.

By the artist's dates on watercolors in the Sullivan Goss collection we know that Dwight was in San Francisco and Santa Barbara in 1890 and 1891. We also believe that sometime after 1906 she resided in Paris, France. Her works are signed variously as Henrietta Latham Dwight or initials HLD, or monograms with HMD, for Henrietta Milton Dwight. She died in Paris, France on February 6, 1909 and was buried in Oakland, California in September 1910.



THE GOLDEN AGE COOK-BOOK:

Dwight's early vegetarian cookbook is filled with delightful recipes showing how a full diet can be had without meat of any kind. Her introduction shows the author to be driven mainly by health concerns, but also aware of social, economic and moral issues involved in dietary choices. Published in 1898 by the Alliance Publishing Company, the volume has a bright gilt and embossed cover and contains over 300 recipies including: Sweet Potato Croquettes, Mock Fish Chops, and a Border Timgale of Mock Chicken and numerous simple recipes for cakes and other sweets.


In 2002, noted California collector and dealer Gary Breitweiser provided SullivanGoss with this collection of twenty-five watercolors by Henrietta Latham Dwight. He acquired the collection from Elliot Evans, a professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, in the early 1980s. The story is told that Dr. Evans' wife was a distant relative of Dwight's.

CASTLE ROCK VIEW EAST:
1891
10.75" x 14.75"
Watercolor on paper
Private Collection
This rock was the pictorial icon of Santa Barbara, second only the the famous Santa Barbara Mission. This rock was subject of paintins, watercolors, drawings and photographs until it was damaged in the earthquake of 1925.


SANTA BARBARA ADOBES:
These older homes have been the subject of numerous research efforts including Clarence Cullimore's 1948 book pictured above center. One passionate historian of the adobes is Santa Barbara's own John Woodward who has spent thirty years amassing a collection of over 500 doucmentary photographs of the Santa Barbara adobes. He provided the picture to the right which was origianlly taken in the 1880's, just before Dwight completed her painting which is shown on the left.

II. AN ANALYSIS OF THE ARTIST'S WORK

The twenty-five known watercolors can be grouped into four locales: Santa Barbara, San Francisco, unknown locations (two scenes), and Paris.

It would seem likely that Dwight would have received her training in either California or France. It may be that she received some training in both locations. All of these watercolors show a trained hand working in a professional style. The watercolors in this collection are dated so early in the development of California watercolorists that Dwight could only have been influenced in San Francisco by either Christian Jorgensen (1860-1935) or Lorenzo Latimer (1857-1941). Although the Englishman John Evey (1842-1910) was teaching at this time, his classes were confined to Los Angeles and there is no record of her ever having been that far south in California. Both Jorgensen and Latimer taught at the San Francisco School of Design in the 1880s. Jorgenson conducted classes in San Francisco and across the bay in Oakland, where it is thought that Dwight lived.

However, Dwight's work is significantly different from each of these younger influential male artists. The composition of her work in California is always focused on a single subject surrounded by an atmospheric setting: a lone boat, an individual rock outcropping, a solitary adobe, a sentinel tree. This is markedly different from the lush, complex and dense compositions of Jorgensen and Latimer. Dwight's later work, the Parisian pieces, demonstrate a much more developed style: every part of the surface is planned and covered with compositional values.



ONE ROOM ADOBE:
1891
8.75" x 11.75"
Watercolor on paper
Private Collection
Among the artist's Santa Barbara scenes are five views of early adobe structures. In the early part of the 1890s, Dwight recorded these decaying buildings before time and weather destroyed them completely. Part-time historian John Woodward of Santa Barbara identified this as a post-1850, one-room adobe, remodeled after ships started importing items like windows with glass panes.

Alfred Harrison, Jr. of North Point Gallery in San Francisco is the leading authority on California watercolorists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is his opinion that Dwight's California work shows the influence of Christian Jorgensen as her teacher. He remarked that her attention to architectural details is reminiscent of Jorgensen's work as an architectural draftsman, an influence commonly seen in his watercolors of missions. Jorgenson was fond of the panoramic view that Dwight used in her Rise at East Beach and Boat on Blocks. Harrison also found similarities with Jorgensen's work in Dwight's depiction of sky and water elements. Reviewing his archives, Harrison located a copy of the San Francisco Evening Post, May 25, 1891 (page 4, col. 3) which reads as follows:

"Chris Jorgenson, the leading water colorist, will leave on Sunday for Santa Barbara, where he will spend the month of June sketching. He will be accompanied by his San Francisco and Oakland classes, numbering about twenty."

It may be that Dwight was one of the twenty. She was married in Oakland and after her death she was buried there. Perhaps she was a member of his Oakland class. If she was in this session it would explain the 1891 dating on many of her Santa Barbara watercolors. The signature and date on the Sailboat in Marsh which is detailed above and difficult to read, may be dated "Jun. 1891."



CHRISTIAN JORGENSEN, SMALL WAREHOUSE ON BAY:
1884
8.5" x 12.50"
It is suspected that Jorgensen was the teacher for Dwight. This simple study of a seaside warehouse is very reminicent of a number of Dwight's watercolor painting. Composition, subject, tone are all similar to the early works of Dwight. Her paintings Fish Camp, On the Beach, and Seaside House hold references to the style of this early Jorgensen watercolor.

III. CATALOGUE

In the event that you have works by this artist which you would like included in this catalogue, contact Sullivan Goss for submission requirements. The catalogue, (or The Works of Henrietta Latham Dwight) is being assembled as part of this page. The catalogue will include paintings in oil, watercolors, and other media.

Part of the difficulty in gathering material for a catalogue of Dwight's work is in her name and signature. At various times in her career she could have been known, or her work signed, as : a) Henrietta Marshall; b) Henrietta M. Latham; c) Henrietta Marshall Latham; d) Henrietta M. Latham Dwight; e) Henrietta Latham Dwight; f) Henrietta L. Dwight, g) HLD; and h) HMD. Some of her works are signed, some initialled, some dated, and some have notes in the artist's hand on the back of the work.



FULL SIGNATURE: Circa 1906
Dwight's work is signed three different ways: a full cursive signature, her initials in cursive "HLD," and a block-lettered monogram "HMD." This bold cursive signature (left) was applied to several of her Parisian sketches, always appearing in the lower right.


INITIALS:
The initialed signature "HLD" appears on a number of the artist's watercolors dated 1890 and 1891. The initials are applied in pencil in the lower right.


MONOGRAM:
It is not known if it was the artist who wrote these pencil monograms "HMD" and titles. The monogram is distinctly constructed with the "H" and "D" forming the outer verticals of the "M."

In comparison with the initials "HLD" (discussed above), the "HMD" shows heavier pressure on the pencil, the letters are slanted to the left instead of the right, and the block style is very different from the initialled format. In most cases this monogram is applied to the verso of the watercolor, either upper or lower left.

In all cases except one the initials are applied to the front of the watercolor and the monogram is applied to the back, perhaps indicating that the monogram was applied at a later date. However, in the exception Sailboat in Marsh (digitally enhanced detail below) the initials, monogram, and a date are all on the face of the watercolor in the lower right corner.



It is thought that the artist herself may have applied both the initials and the monograms, perhaps at two different times in her life.

There are only twenty-six known works by Henrietta Latham Dwight, twenty-five in the Sullivan Goss collection and an oil painting exhibited by the Society of California Pioneers in 1959. The watercolors are all on professional watercolor paper. Some of the California works are on countermarked "J. Whatman" paper with a date of 1890 imbedded in the paper. Others are marked 1891 and show a "B" near the Whatman name. Only two of the Parisian scenes have watermarks. Both of these are Whatman paper and marked 1906.

THE WORKS OF HENRIETTA LATHAM DWIGHT
No. Title Size Watermark Date Signature
1 Parisian Summer 7.5" x 10.5" no mark, paper like no. 4 c. 1906 signed LR
2 D'eau Navigable 7.5" x 10.5" no mark, paper like no. 4 c. 1906 unsigned
3 Paris Promenade 10.75" x 7.5" no mark, paper like no. 4 c. 1906 unsigned
4 Seine, Paris 7.5" x 10.5" [What]man 1906 c. 1906 unsigned
5 French Countryside 7.5" x 10.5" none c. 1906 unsigned
6 Le Jardin, Paris 7.5" x 10.5" [Whatm]an 1906 c. 1906 signed LR
7 Rise at East Beach 5.75" x 17.5" none c. 1890 unsigned
8 Adobe With Clothesline 9.5" x 14.75" no mark, paper like no. 9 1891 verso monogram HMD & "Santa Barbara" verso
9 Boat On Blocks 8" x 15" Whatman 1891 LR initialed HLD LR
10 Carrillo Adobe 10" x 14" [What]man B 1889 1891 verso monogram HMD verso
11 Castle Rock, View East 10.25" x 14.75" no mark, paper like no. 9 1891 verso unsigned & "[Sa]nta Barbara Rock" verso
12 Castle Rock, View West 9" x 17.5" no mark, paper like no. 9 1891 verso monogram HMD & "Santa Barbara Coast" verso
13 Coming Fog 10" x 14" [Wathm]an B 1889 1891 initialed HLD LR
14 Country Estate 5" x 5.75" none c. 1890 unsigned
15 Early Santa Barbara Barn 7.5" x 9.5" no mark, paper like no. 9 1891 verso monogram HMB & "Santa Barbara" verso
16 Fish Camp 8.25" x 12" no mark, paper like no. 9 1891 initialed HLD LR
17 Mission Gate 11" x 7.5" no mark, paper like no. 9 1891 verso monogram HMD & "Santa Barbara Mission Gate" verso
18 On the Beach 10" x 14" no mark, paper like no. 10 c. 1890 unsigned
19 One Room Adobe 8.75" x 11.75" no mark, paper like no. 9 1891 verso monogram HMD & "Santa Barbara" verso
20 Rowboat on Beach 9" x 11.75" no mark, paper like no. 9 c. 1890 faint initials LR
21 Sailboat In Marsh 8.75" x 11.75" no mark, paper like no. 9 1890 initialed HLD & monogram HMD LR
22 Santa Barbara Adobe Ruin 8.75" x 11.75" no mark, paper like no. 9 c. 1890 unsigned
23 Santa Inez Mission, 1891 8.5" x 10.5" Wh[atman] [18]90 1891 monogram HMD verso
24 Seaside House 11.75" x 7.5" [Wha]tman [188]9 c. 1890 unsigned
25 Windblown Tree 5.5" x 9" no mark, paper like no. 9 c. 1890 unsigned
26 Chinese Junk unknown oil unknown unknown unknown

IV. BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. 1. Hughes, Edan Milton. Artists in California, 1786-1940, II, p. 325. San Francisco: Hughes Publishing Company, 1989.
  2. 2. U.S. Census, Birth Date, Marriage Dates, Children, Death Date. Accessed through RootsWeb.com
  3. 3. Sivo, Brooke. Market Report, Butterfields Magazine, p. 3. Butterfields, December 2000).
  4. 4. Dwight, Henrietta Latham. The Golden Age Cook-Book. New York: Alliance Publishing, 1898. 178 pp.
  5. 5. McClelland, Gordon T. and Jay T. Last, California Watercolors: 1850-1970. Santa Ana, CA: Hillcrest Press, 2002. 229 pp.
  6. 6. Harrison, Alfred, et al. The Legacy of Percy Grey. Carmel, CA: Carmel Art Association, 1998, 184 pp.
  7. 7. San Francisco Evening Post. "Chris Jorgensen..." May 25, 1891, page 4, column 3. From the archives of Alfred Harrison, Jr.