List of Letters of Thomas Cole to Daniel Wadsworth with Summary Description of Contents by Kim L. Longo


1. Holograph signed, 6 July 1826, 1 whole leaf and 1 partial leaf, 2 pages of text.

Cole apologizes for not painting the view of the Falls of Kaaterskill which Wadsworth had requested earlier.  He proposes to paint from sketches of the Falls from several hundred yards below instead, because he was not as pleased with the original idea, which he is nevertheless willing to do.

2. Holograph signed, 20 November 1826, 2 leaves, 1 page of text.

Cole has finished the painting of the Kaaterskill Falls but does not feel that it is as successful as the similar view he painted for Col Trumbull.  He hopes Wadsworth will be more pleased than he is.

3. Holograph signed, 4 December 1826, 2 leaves, 1 page of text.

Cole thanks Wadsworth for allowing him to choose his own subject for the next painting he will send him and for his kind reception of the Kaaterskill Falls painting.

4. Holograph signed, 4 August 1827, 2 leaves, 2 pages of text.

Cole writes to Wadsworth during a rain shower about his surroundings in Center Harbour, New Hampshire.

5. Holograph signed, 16 August 1827, 2 leaves, 1 page of text.

Cole informs Wadsworth of his return to New York and that he has been painting for a few hours already.

6. Holograph signed, 26 November 1827, 2 leaves, 3 pages of text.

Cole apologizes for not having responded to the last letter sooner.  He compares the pleasures of being abroad to the enjoyment of being home.  He answers no to the question of whether he has been satisfied with his work.  He discusses the subject of his next painting, The Garden of Eden.  He has finished the picture for Mr. Gilmor as well as the view of the White Mountains for Wadsworth which he will send.  

7. Holograph signed, 8 December 1827, 2 leaves, 2 pages of text.

Cole thanks Wadsworth for being a merciful judge of the paintings he sent him, including “The Last of the Mohicans,” and explains the view of Mount Washington.  He has half finished the picture of the Cascade and cannot promise that he will paint Wadsworth’s request of Monte Video but would like to.

8. Holograph signed, 9 January 1828, 2 leaves, 3 pages of text. 

Cole apologizes for not responding sooner and writes that Wadsworth is too kind in overlooking the faults in his paintings.  He agrees to paint a picture for Wadsworth’s friend.  He is happier to paint for men of real taste than to waste his time and labor painting for fanciers.  He intends to paint several by next spring from which the friend can choose.  He cannot paint the Cascade yet and would like to make the views of Monte Video and Squam Lake a size smaller than “The Last of the Mohicans.” 

9. Holograph signed, 11 March 1828, 2 leaves, 3 pages of text.

Cole has been working hard on his Garden of Eden painting and has started the views of Monte Video and Squam Lake.  He would like to sail to Europe in August to study the works of the first Masters.  He asks Wadsworth to send the picture of St. John to the Boston exhibition.

10. Holograph signed, 11 April 1828, 1 whole leaf and 1 partial leaf, 1 page of text.  Cole thanks Wadsworth for sending the pictures and assures him that they arrived safe.  He would like to finish a companion picture to the Garden of Eden titled “The Expulsion of our First Parents from Eden.”

11. Holograph signed, 23 April 1828, 2 leaves, 2 pages of text. 

Cole disagrees with Wadsworth that the cave is formal; he believes it is gloomy in nature but its entrance is not and would like to think of it as a pleasing object as poets often do.  He does not like including anything in his paintings without reason but does not explain the cave in detail. 

12. Holograph signed, 10 May 1828, 2 leaves, 3 pages of text.

Cole intends to send the view of L’esperance on the Schoharie River to which he made changes.  He has had Wadsworth’s pictures varnished for the exhibition and tilted appropriately to have the light illuminate them.   

13. Holograph signed, 5 June 1828, 2 leaves, 3 pages of text.

Cole welcomes Wadsworth back from his trip to the mountains and would like to see his sketches.  He is upset that he will not be able to leave New York for Europe in the summer.

14. Holograph signed, 27 August 1828, 2 leaves, 2 pages of text.

Cole is sorry that the statue of Washington is still subject to pollution but is pleased to tell Wadsworth that the color of the niche it stands in has been changed from blue to a warm stone color that reflects light upon the statue.  He will be detained in Boston for several more weeks and is anxious to get home. 

15. Holograph signed, 13 October 1828, 3 leaves, 3 pages of text.

Cole discusses the matter of Wadsworth’s receipt from Mr. Jones for the painting and explains that his letter was “miscarried.”  He has painted two pictures while in Boston.  He would like to throw out some pictures of the Garden of Eden he is not happy with but decides to leave them in Boston.  He intends to show Wadsworth his sketches of the White Mountains. 

16. Holograph signed, 10 November 1828, 2 leaves, 3 pages of text.

Cole promises to demand a receipt for Wadsworth from Mr. Jones.  He has been in low spirits because he hasn’t studied the works of great masters as he doesn’t have the means to travel.  He will be able to send two of the pictures Wadsworth ordered within two weeks, the views of Merideth and Monte-Video.

17. Holograph signed, 1 December 1828, 2 leaves, 1 page of text.

Cole will send the Monte Video and Winnipisiogee pictures by steam boat this afternoon and is pleased with them.  He would like to show Wadsworth the painting he is working on for Cooper.

18. Holograph signed, 8 December 1829, 2 leaves, 2 pages of text.

Cole disagrees with Wadsworth’s critique of Winnipisiogee, explaining the advantages of a hazy morning and absences of shadow in the painting. 

19. Holograph signed, 13 July 1832, 2 leaves, 3 pages of text.

Cole writes from Florence, Italy, where he has been for a year and having spent the previous two years in England.  He wishes to return home now that he has studied and asks Wadsworth about Monte Video.  He will bring the engraved view of Monte Video that he meant to send from England for Wadsworth when he returns in the following spring.