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Francis W. Edmonds

FRANCIS W. EDMONDS (1806-1863) Crow’s Nest, 1851, watercolor, gouache and graphite on paper. Gift of Mary and Marshall Bassett

Before the Lawrence Park artist colony was established, Francis Edmonds, a banker by trade and National Academician by avocation, built in 1850 a country house that included his studio. The property was called Crow’s Nest, a name that is still used today. Edmonds had little formal training as an artist (he took night classes at the National Academy), but he became well known as a genre painter and engraver and exhibited widely.

Crow’s Nest, Edmonds’ watercolor rendition of his 30-acre estate, shows a newly finished gothic-style house surrounded by a long fence, with a barn and shed at street level along Pondfield Road. In the foreground, a field has been prepared for planting. Within a few years after this work was executed, Edmonds made significant changes and additions to the building. The banker/artist died at the age of 56. A special train carried mourners from New York to his funeral at Crow’s Nest.