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Smith, Francis Hopkinson

(1838-1915) The versatile and talented Francis Hopkinson Smith enjoyed successful careers as an engineer, artist, and writer. Born in Baltimore, Smith worked as a shipping clerk and in his brother’s iron foundry. After the Civil War, he and partner James Symington established the engineering firm they were to run for thirty years, undertaking such notable projects as the construction of the foundations for the Statue of Liberty, the Block Island breakwater, the Staten Island sea wall, and the Race Rock Lighthouse. Smith was self-taught as a painter. He illustrated some of his own books, which included twelve novels and numerous travel journals based on his visits to Europe, Mexico, and Turkey. His books proved so popular that he was able to retire from engineering and devote his time to travel in Spain, Italy and Constantinople. Smith was a striking figure and a popular speak and raconteur, known for his tales of exotic lands. His after-dinner stories provided the basis of his first novel. For over thirty years he spent summers in Venice, painting en plein-air. He preferred working outdoors in watercolor, his favorite medium, painting landscapes, portraits, canals, boats and farm scenes. With Arthur Quartley and Charles Stanley Reinhart, Smith was part of the artist colony at Cold Spring Harbor in New York. He was a noted member of the New York Tile Club, for which he illustrated books, sketches, and stories. In 1898 he was made a Commander of the Order of the Mejidieh and in 1900 he was named to the Order of Osmanieh by the Sultan of Turkey. No items found.