William Sydney Mount

American Nationalism Artist

Personal Background:

William Sydney (Sidney) Mount was born on November 26, 1807 in Setauket, Long Island, New York. He was born to Thomas Shepherd Mount and Julia Ann Hawkins. He was the second youngest of five children. He had three older brothers and a younger sister. His mom had very poor health, causing him to rely heavily on his grandmother, and his father dad just a month before Mount's seventh birthday ("William Sidney Mount. Part 1. The Music Man"). He was a farm boy until he was 17. At the age 17, he decided to become an apprentice of his older brother, Henry, a sign painter who worked in New York City. The National Academy of Design opened drawing classes in 1826. Mount was one of its first students and in 1831, he was elected as an associate member. He returned to Setauket a year later and continued to paint. He received many offers to study abroad, but he always rejected the offers. He had a great nationalistic pride. Mount's artistic career began with paintings containing historical subjects. However, after he began to investigate the social manners and traditions of rural life, it shifted to genre painting. Frequently, his paintings had to do with American social and political issues ("William Sidney Mount | American Painter"). Mount died on November 19, 1868, and is buried in the Presbyterian Church Cemetery ("William Sidney Mount").

Contributions to the Art World:

Mount contributed greatly to history, nationalism, and the Reform Era. His artwork played a significant role in shaping American view-points. The majority of his work depicted everyday activities by hardworking Americans ("Art - Nationalism In America"). These illustrations gave many citizens a sense of pride in themselves, in their work, and in their country. Also, his paintings depicted slavery and the treatment of African Americans. He portrayed these African Americans as normal people. His work showed that slavery was constitutionally wrong. Mount's specialty, genre art, represents scenes or events from everyday life ("Mount, William Sidney (1807-1868)"). Their settings often include the marketplace, the tavern, or regular places such as the house or street ("Genre").

Famous Works:

Work Cited:


"The Bone Player." Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2015.

"Dancing on the Barn Floor - William Sidney Mount - The Athenaeum." Dancing on the Barn Floor - William Sidney Mount - The Athenaeum. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2015.

"Mount, William Sidney (1807-1868)." AVHS-APUSH -. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2015.

"William Sidney Mount, Eel Spearing at Setauket, 1845." Arthistoryoftheday. N.p., 02 Oct. 2011. Web. 29 Nov. 2015


"Art - Nationalism In America." Art - Nationalism In America. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2015.

"Genre." About.com Education. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2015.

"William Sidney Mount | American Painter." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 12 Aug. 2014. Web. 26 Nov. 2015.

"Mount, William Sidney (1807-1868)." AVHS-APUSH -. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2015.

"William Sidney Mount." William Sidney Mount. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.

"William Sidney Mount. Part 1. The Music Man." My Daily Art Display. N.p., 05 Apr. 2015. Web 29 Nov. 2015.