Charles E. Mills (American, 1856-1956)
Charles E. Mills, born in Pittsburgh, Pa., January 29, 1856 and died December 2, 1956 in Dedham, Massachusetts was a noted portrait painter, muralist and landscape painter, and a skilled designer in stained glass.
After one year at Allegheny College, he went to Europe in 1878 and traveled extensively, joining the Duveneck School and studying in Germany and Italy. He returned to the United States and set up a studio in Boston. He later spent a year in Paris and again maintained a studio in Boston. In 1888 with his sister and mother, he took up his residence at 63 School Street in Dedham and moved his studio to a block in Dedham Square.
Mr. Mills was a portrait painter, muralist, and landscape artist as well as a designer and worker in stained glass. Several Boston buildings feature his work including the stained-glass windows in Memorial Hall, Harvard College and in Trinity Church. His bibliographical murals of Benjamin Franklin at the Franklin Technical Institute are well known. His paintings hang in local Dedham buildings, including the Dedham Public Library and the Dedham First Unitarian Church, with the most extensive collection at the Dedham Historical Society, with which he was involved. He painted many portraits of doctors, judges, and educators as well as many local Dedham landscapes. He designed bookplates and created and redesigned patterns for the Dedham Pottery. Mills’ eyesight failed, and he gave up his studio in 1946. He was long a familiar and colorful figure in Dedham and was held in affectionate regard by all who recognized his Van Dyke beard and formal dress. Mills is buried in Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh. The cemetery was once part of the farm of his grandfather, who was in business in Pittsburgh about 1804.
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