Sala Bosworth

  Skating on the Canal  

Skating on the Canal

Watercolor on Paper

Image Size 11 1/2 x 17 1/2


Sala Bosworth was an itinerant portrait artist who traveled to towns along the Ohio River. His portraits are distinguished by his exclusive use of red, black, and white paint. Many of his works remain unaccounted for but are thought to be hanging on walls in Marietta, Ohio, the town he called his "real home", as well as many other towns along the River.

Bosworth was born in Halifax, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, on September 15, 1805, the son of Sala and Rebecca Perkins Bosworth. He moved with his parents to Marietta, Ohio in 1818. Following his graduation from Marietta High School, he began to paint portraits and landscapes, and two of his well known portraits are "Mr. Alexander Pinkerton" and "Mrs. Alexander Pinkerton". They are signed by Bosworth and dated 1826. Two other paintings attributed to Bosworth are one of Pinkerton's son, Robert, and another of Mrs Elizabeth Dana Barker (1771-1835), and both are signed and dated.

In 1827, Bosworth was known to have attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. In 1828 he returned to Marietta, Ohio to begin his life as an artist, and he was very much in demand in several towns throughout Ohio including Zanesville, Columbus, Circleville, Athens, Chillicothe, and Belpre.

In 1828, he painted portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Cyrus Byington, and those paintings hang on a wall at Campus Martius Museum in Marietta. The Museum also has an undated landscape of Marietta in its early years titled "Muskingdom River Valley from Harmar Hill". This painting is mentioned in the will of Minnie Tupper Nye as having been painted by Bosworth.

In Athens, Ohio in 1836, Bosworth painted portraits of "Betsy Sybil Shipman" and "Joanna Shipman"; the portrait of Betsy is known today to be in a private collection in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1839, Joanna Shipman moved to Marietta, Ohio where she became Sala Bosworth's wife.

Sala Bosworth also did the sketches for Samuel P. Hildreth's Book titled "Pioneer History of the Ohio Valley", and these sketches were of the forts called "Campus Martius", "Marietta at the Point", and "Farmers Castle at Belpre, Ohio".

In later years, Bosworth began losing his eyesight and was forced to stop painting. He went into the mercantile business in Marietta, and from 1846-1854, he was the county auditor (Washington County). In 1861, he was appointed postmaster at Marietta by President Abraham Lincoln, and stayed in that position to 1870, when once again he returned to the mercantile business.

In 1822, he and Joanna moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where the couple lived with their daughter Frances, the wife of Ephraim Cutler Dawes. Once again, Bosworth began painting watercolor landscapes.

He died on December 22,1889 at the age of 85. Joanna died on August 12,1903. After their daughter Frances was widowed, she returned to Marietta, Ohio to live with her in laws, Mr and Mrs Rufus Dawes, and when she moved from Cincinnati, she brought many of her father's paintings with her. They remain today in the Dawes family, housed at Dawes Arboretum in Newark, Ohio. One painting depicts the brick home and garden of Ephraim Cutler in Constitution, Ohio. Ephraim Cutler was a friend of Bosworth's, and an author and signer of the Ohio constitution.

Written and submitted March 2004 by Larry Koon, columnist for the "Marietta Times Antiques", Marietta, Ohio.


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