Nichols, Spencer Baird

Nichols, Spencer Baird (1875-1950)

Spencer Baird Nichols was born on February 13, 1875. He spent his childhood in Washington, D.C. He attended classes at the Corcoran School of Art and the Washington Art Students League. At the age of 17, he received a position as Instructor of Illustration at the League. He worked for the Geological Survey and the National Museum. Before the First World War Nichols was a Chief Designer for Louis Comfort Tiffany Studios, designing mosaics, windows, interiors, and painting. He served in the Spanish American War in an engineer company, and during World War I he served as a camafleur in the U. S. Navy. After the war he illustrated many books including A Christmas Carol, Oscar Wilde’s Little Prince, and a number of poetry books by Alfred Noyes. Nichols along with eight other prominent artists founded the Kent Art Association in 1923. Several works by Nichols were destroyed in a fire that consumed his house and studio in 1932. In 1934 he became the Director of Art at Marot Junior College in Thompson, Connecticut and held that position until the school closed in 1941. Prior to the WPA Federal Arts Project, he worked for the Public Works of Art Project. He began working for the Connecticut WPA in 1936 and completed murals in Kent, Litchfield, and New Milford Schools. For the WPA, he completed 33 works that were allocated to Litchfield High School, Laurel Heights Sanatorium, Hartford Board of Park Commissioners, Long Lane Farm, New Haven Community Center, and the Connecticut State Farm for Women. He was a member of the Washington Water Color Club, Society of Washington Artists, the Salmagundi Club, the National Arts Club, and was an elected Associate of the National Academy of Design. Nichols died on August 28, 1950, in Kent, Connecticut.

 Sources: WPA Artist’s Work Card; AskART; “Spencer Nichols, Artist, 75, Dead,” New York Times, August 29, 1950; Karen A. Chase and Kent Art Association.

Works of Art Listed in CT Archives’ database from Spencer Nichols:

Litchfield History:  
Decorative Marine:  
Wood Interior- Kent Falls:  
Horse Chestnut Flowers:  
Ramatau’s Barn:  
Putnam Falls:  
Caterpillar Barn:  
New England Village:  
After the Tornado:  
Marine #1:  
Marine #2: watercolor
Landscape: watercolor
Moonrise: watercolor
Sunrise: watercolor
Landscape- French River: watercolor
Barnyard- Winter: watercolor
White Dawn: watercolor
Corn Stalks: oil
Apple Tree- Winter: watercolor
Kent Hills- Winter: watercolor
Wind in the Sky: watercolor
Cargill Falls: oil
Storm Clouds: oil
Rythum [sic?]: oil
Threatening Westher Marine: oil
Wood Interior: oil
Spring Wood – Interior: watercolor
Calm Sea: watercolor
The Green Wave: watercolor
Nasty Weather: watercolor
Front Garden: oil
Back Garden: oil
Mid Ocean: oil
Colonial Mural:  
Nichols, Spencer Baird