Frank Hill Smith led a fascinating life and it’s been interesting to learn more about his story. It seems that he could turn his creative hand to various disciplines including frescos, architecture, stained glass windows, drawing, painting and interior design. One of his better-known projects was to design his own home in Boston’s Beacon Hill, which a local newspaper described as follows:
“One of the things to see here is the house of Mr. Frank Hill Smith, the artist. He has transformed an old wooden building at the corner of Mt. Vernon and River Streets into the most attractive and picturesque place in the city. ...on the front of the large gable in the roof is a huge sunflower in high relief; below it, on the upper story, is a winged lion in relief; over the front door is a course of grotesque, open carving; the whole is painted yellow, and is so attractive that people who love light and sunshine hover about it like moths round a candle.”
During the 1870s, Smith was one of the foremost figures within the Boston art scene and well connected within a circle of highly regarded artists. His works include portraits, scenes and landscapes, which are often referred to as ‘luminist' in style. Luminist landscapes emphasise calmness and tranquillity through their use of light and perspective.
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