Encore Presentation of A Mine of Beauty: Landscapes by William Trost Richards

Exhibition Info
Curated by
Anna O. Marley, Curator of Historical American Art
PAFA remembers Dorrance "Dodo" Hamilton with an encore presentation of her generous gift to PAFA

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is pleased to announce an encore presentation of the 2012 exhibition A Mine of Beauty: Landscapes by William Trost Richards in honor of Mrs. Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton, a treasured friend of PAFA who passed away on April 18 at the age of 88.

Among Mrs. Hamilton's many gifts to PAFA are 110 breathtaking William Trost Richards watercolors, which were first exhibited in 2012. This special presentation of A Mine of Beauty will be on view from May 25 to July 30 as a tribute to her steadfast support and her lasting legacy.

William Trost Richards (1833-1905) created a series of small-scale watercolors as tokens of his appreciation and friendship with fellow Philadelphian George Whitney (1819-1885), a collector and art patron who owned one of the city’s most prized 19th-century art collections. Whitney’s important collection was dispersed upon his death; however, Richards’ watercolor gifts remained a treasured Whitney family possession for many years. They were eventually acquired by Mrs. Hamilton, who graciously gifted them to PAFA.

Mrs. Hamilton’s many gifts to PAFA were transformative to both the museum and the school. Her naming gift was crucial to the renovation of the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building, which she named in honor of her late husband who chaired PAFA's Board of Trustees. She also provided a challenge grant that enabled PAFA to establish the Donald R. Caldwell Scholarship, a prestigious full–tuition scholarship for incoming full-time undergraduate students.

Created between 1875 and 1885, the stunning watercolors in A Mine of Beauty depict landscapes of Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and England – all places beloved by Mrs. Hamilton as well as Richards. Mrs. Hamilton enjoyed life both in Philadelphia and Newport, R.I., as Richards once did, and she was a tireless ambassador for PAFA, often hosting gatherings in Newport to expand PAFA’s circle of friends.

Her thoughtful proviso was that PAFA will share the collection with Newport, exhibiting the work regularly in the two places that were central to both Richards’ and Mrs. Hamilton’s lives. Her gift made possible a final home for these superb watercolors that would have pleased both the artist and his patron.