Ipswich artist Arthur Wesley Dow was born on April 6, 1857 and grew up in the Matthew Perkins house on East Street. He was one of the town’s most famous residents and a founding member of the Ipswich Historical Society.

Arthur Wesley Dow
Arthur Wesley Dow

During summer, Dow and his wife ran the Ipswich Summer School of Art from the historic “Howard house” on Turkey Shore Road. Arthur Wesley Dow is renowned for his paintings and prints that take their subject matter from nature and reflect the orderly design and fine handcrafting championed by the Arts & Crafts movement.

Eighteen acres of his land was land was bequeathed to the town to become Dow Park on upper Spring Street, and his home went to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (now called “Historic New England” upon his death in 1922.

In 1899 Dow created a teaching manual entitled Composition: Understanding Line, Notan and Color. In this very popular book he combines the best of Eastern and Western ideas, exploring the creation of images based on relations between lines, colors, and light patterns.

Dow served as the assistant curator of Japanese Art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and taught at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, then was the director of the Fine Arts Department at the Teachers’ College at Columbia University in New York City until his death in 1922.

The Howard House on Turkey Shore Road, where Arthur Wesley Dow held his summer art school.
The Howard House on Turkey Shore Road, where Arthur Wesley Dow held his summer art school.
Arthur Wesley Dow with students at his summer art school on Turkey Shore Road.
Arthur Wesley Dow with students at his summer art school on Turkey Shore Road.

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The Dow family bought a lot on Spring Street in 1817 which included an old dwelling house which no longer stands. Arthur Wesley Dow built a new mansion at 21 Spring St.

In 1899 Dow produced an album of 41 photographs entitled “Ipswich Days” and later published “By Salt Marshes: Pictures & Poems of Old Ipswich.”

Ipswich Days” analyzes this album and its significance in the artist’s career. Each of the images, depicting Ipswich’s clam shanties, marshes, farms, people, trees, flowers, and boats alike, is handsomely reproduced and reflects the beauty that Dow saw and uniquely interpreted in this quintessentially New England town.

In the ink sketch, “The Long Road: Argilla Road, Ipswich” he depicts a gravel road with a walking path running parallel as it may have been before the automotive age. Dow created several woodcut prints of the scene that I found in “Along Ipswich River: The Color Woodcuts of Arthur Wesley Dow,” depicting the walking trail converging with the road in the distance.

Click on any image below to start the slideshow.

Hill and Field by Arthur Wesley Dow
Hill and Field
Hillside Pool by Arthur Wesley Dow
Hillside Pool
Shadow of a Thundercloud by Arthur Wesley Dow
In the Shadow of a Thundercloud
Ipswich Field by Arthur Wesley Dow
Ipswich Field
Ipswich marsh by Arthur Wesley Dow
Ipswich Marsh 1900
Ipswich Marsh by Arthur Wesley Dow
Ipswich Marsh blockprint
Summer Street by Arthur Wesley Dow
Summer Street blockprint
Japanese Tree by Arthur Wesley Dow
Japanese Tree in Blossom
June Morning by Arthur Wesley Dow
June Morning
landscape by Arthur Wesley Dow
Town Landscape
Lavendar and Green by Arthur Wesley Dow
Lavendar and Green
Les Sables de Raguenes by Arthur Wesley Dow
Les Sables de Raguenes
The Long Road Argilla by Arthur Wesley Dow
The Long Road Argilla
Marsh Creek by Arthur Wesley Dow
Marsh Creek
Marsh Creek by Arthur Wesley Dow
Marsh Creek
Mirror by Arthur Wesley Dow
Mirror
Moonrise by Arthur Wesley Dow
Moonrise
Nabby's Point by Arthur Wesley Dow
Nabby’s Point
Nightfall by Arthur Wesley Dow
Nightfall
Pirate house by Arthur Wesley Dow
Pirate house, Harry Maine
Summer Street by Arthur Wesley Dow
Summer Street
Sun Dappled Path by Arthur Wesley Dow
Sun Dappled Path
Sunset by Arthur Wesley Dow
Sunset
Sunset by Arthur Wesley Dow
Sunset over town
The dory by Arthur Wesley Dow
The Dory
Moon on the Hill by Arthur Wesley Dow
Moon on the Hill
The Old Stone Wall by Arthur Wesley Dow
The Old stone Wall
Marsh View by Arthur Wesley Dow
Marsh View 1892
Water Meadows by Arthur Wesley Dow
Water Meadows at Sunset
August Moon by Arthur Wesley Dow
August Moon
Bend of a River by Arthur Wesley Dow
Bend of a River
Boats at Rest by Arthur Wesley Dow
Boats at Rest
Bridge by Arthur Wesley Dow
Bridge
Choate Bridge by Arthur Wesley Dow
Choate Bridge blockprint by ARthur Wesley Dow
Clam house by Arthur Wesley Dow
Clam House
River Color by Arthur Wesley Dow
River Color
Color study by Arthur Wesley Dow
Color study
dory by Arthur Wesley Dow
Dory photo
dory by Arthur Wesley Dow
Dory blockprint 1895
Flood Tide by Arthur Wesley Dow
Flood Tide in the Ipswich Marshes
Flowering Field by Arthur Wesley Dow
Flowering Field
Flowering Hillside by Arthur Wesley Dow
Flowering Hillside
From Bayberry Hill by Arthur Wesley Dow
From Bayberry Hill
Harry Maine by Arthur Wesley Dow
Harry Maine house blockprint
Haystack in the Marsh by Arthur Wesley Dow
Haystack in the Marsh
Hill beyond the Marsh by Arthur Wesley Dow
Hill Beyond the Marsh
Meadow Hay by Arthur Wesley Dow
Meadow Hay
Marshes in the rain by Arthur Wesley Dow
Marshes in the Rain
An Ipswich Distance by Arthur Wesley Dow
An Ipswich Distance

5 thoughts on “Arthur Wesley Dow

  1. Do you know if Arthur was related to George Francis Dow, who was very involved with the Essex Institute and the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities? I thought I had once read that they were cousins, but I haven’t found documentation of that.

      1. Thanks, Gordon. I thought I had read that they were cousins, but haven’t found that elsewhere.

  2. I am most certain that my husband’s family was related to Arthur Dow and am trying to locate brothers or cousins by the name of Amos Dow. Can you help?

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