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A Painters Painter is a Connecticut Favorite
MAKE AN AMERICAN IMPRESSION--CALL 646-239-6142
For Sale: Bilby House Willows, South Kent, CT
ARTIST:
Robert Hogg Nisbet
(1879-1961)
MEDIUM:
Oil on Canvas
(16 X 20)
OUR PRICE
THIS WORK:
(Call 646-239-6142)
ARTIST TOP
PRICE EVER:
$23,500
'The Fisherman' brought
$23,500 at Sotheby's
The artist at home ca.1945
Bilby House renamed and
as it stands today
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CURATOR'S COMMENTS: The Bilby House stands today on the campus of the South Kent School a
Connecticut preparatory academy with Episcopal ties. Now called the 1824 House after its date of
construction the Federal structure has been restored to provide guest accommodations for parents
and alumni. It ranks with Connecticut's Washburn, Ozem and Stiles historic houses of Federal design,
all built close to 1820. The mansion was originally known as the Bilby-Moose, with Moose likely a
corruption of Morse, and as with the others of its class, the architect is unknown. Nisbet was a
lifelong Connecticut painter who lived in Kent well up into the 20th century. He was also known as a
professional etcher and continued in the tradition of George Smillie (1840-1921), the engraver of many
Hudson River scenes, and a painter of Connecticut landscapes in his own right, whose father was a
banknote engraver.

Robert Hogg Nisbet (1879-1961) is noted for his Connecticut landscapes in the east at Old Lyme and
the west in the Hoosic Valley. Nisbet was born in Providence, Rhode Island on August 25, 1879. His
parents were William Douglas Nisbet and Isabella Hogg, and Robert was the eldest of four children.
His grandparents, William and Catherine Nisbet had emigrated from the Scottish border country to the
United States. Nisbet was proud of his Scottish heritage, and his use of his mother's family name,
Hogg, remembers a connection with James Hogg (1770-1835), the Scottish poet and novelist called
the "Ettrick Shepherd," author of the Gothic novel, "The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a
Justified Sinner." Nisbet was also a member of the Burns Society.

He studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and later in New York and Paris. He taught at Brow
n
University and was
a member of the Art Students League of New York, where he served as president
from 1909-1910. He was elected an Associate Member of the National Academy of Design in 1920 and a
National Academician (N.A.) in 1928. He was an Artist Life member of the National Arts Club.
During the
early 1900s, Nisbet summered in Old Lyme, Connecticut, and became a member of the painters
associated with the Griswold Hotel, including Chadwick and Wiggins. Eventually Nisbet settled in
Kent, Connecticut, on the state's western border, where he and his wife established a large home and
a studio. They had no children. Nisbet was the founder of the Kent Art Association whose members
included Willard Metcalf. His work won him three National Academy awards and the National Arts Club
(Painting) prize. His paintings were exhibited in Paris, and at Yale University, the Metropolitan
Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, the National Gallery, the Smithsonian Institution, and the
Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Nisbet's engravers eye is revealed in the Bilby House Willows, which we offer, which puts him in the
tradition of Smillie and much closer to Chauncy Foster Ryder, when it comes to palette. Nisbet knew
Ryder through his Lyme associations and work at the NAD. Interestingly, he chose the cold spring
moment when the willows are about to drop the curtain of their boughs and obscure the house. Here
they are in bloom, following a bare winter, and they balance the house also about to come alive when
the season brightens the grey-green Ryder sky. The painting hung in Bilby House during Nisbet's life,
itself the best memorial to his work and a gem of the Connecticut school.
We acknowledge and
appreciate the help of Amy Kurtz Lansing of the Florence Griswold Museum.