JAMES KIDDEREarly 19th century
Artist and engraver James Kidder was born in Boston in 1793. Kidder displayed remarkable skill in drawing at an early age and was considered an artistic prodigy. He published his first aquatint engraving, entitled “View of Boston Common” in Polyanthus, a Boston monthly magazine, in 1813 at age twenty. Kidder specialized in topographical views and public buildings in and around Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island. As a young man of twenty-three, Kidder was known to Rhode Islanders for his dramatic oil painting of the devastation of the Providence waterfront by the great gale of 1815. In the following year, Kidder reproduced the painting in a popular print he entitled, “A Representation of the Great Storm at Providence, Sept 23, 1815.” His view of Brown University in Providence–the original drawing completed as early as 1823, the lithograph produced circa 1828-31–was the model for several later depictions of the University. In 1823 Kidder was working for Boston engraver Abel Bowen, and worked for Senefelder Lithographic Company between1828 and 1831. From 1830 Kidder maintained a studio on Winter Street in Boston. During this period Kidder painted views of the White Mountains of New Hampshire along with scenes of Boston and the Massachusetts coast. He seems for a time to have been associated with his brother William as a broker. He produced a print entitled, “Broker’s Office,” depicting William’s place of business in Boston. James had another “gentleman Broker” brother, Thompson, for whom he produced in 1810-16 two complete sets of perspective watercolor views of Thompson’s Medford, Massachusetts house and gardens. James Kidder’s work was exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum. He died in Boston in 1837.