Lilly Martin Spencer, born in Exeter, England in 1822,
was one of the most popular and widely reproduced
American female painters.
Lilly's family moved to Marietta, Ohio when she was 11.
Home-schooled, Lilly's love of art was encouraged,
allowing her to draw on the walls of their home with charcoal,
by her reformist parents, who believed in opportunities for women.
In 1841, after successful local exhibits, Lilly traveled
with her father to Cincinnati.
Under the tutelage of Nicholas Longworth,
a prominent art patron, Lilly spent the next
several years studying with local Cincinnati artists.
At 22, Lilly Martin married Benjamin Rush Spencer.
And after her studies and several moves, the couple
settled in Highland, NY, on the Hudson River.
Lilly Martin Spencer became the sole breadwinner
for her large family, while her husband served as
her business manager, assisted with household duties,
and tended to their seven children.
Lilly produced her most well-known and popular works
between 1848 and 1858. Her scenes of domestic life
-sometimes blissful, sometimes humorous-
made her the most successful female American artist
prior to the Civil War.
Spencer exhibited her paintings at the National Academy
of Design and was represented at the Women's Pavilion
of the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in 1876.
Much of Lilly's fame resulted from the widespread sale
of inexpensive engraved copies of her oil paintings,
for which she received little or no money.
Lilly Martin Spencer's Historical Marker stands
on the banks of the Ohio river in Washington County.