Painter · Photographer
Born April 2, 1832, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
Died March 3, 1890, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Thomas Proudley Otter trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He sketched, painted and photographed the county's scenery in a realistic and detailed style. In 1864, Otter's Winter Landscape was among a collection of paintings presented by Abraham Lincoln to the actress, Charlotte Cushman, to commemorate her efforts during the Civil War. After the Civil War, Otter moved to New Britain and then settled in Doylestown, where he taught art at the Linden Female Seminary. His work was used for illustrations in W.W. H. Davis' History of Bucks County, and he became one of the first artists to record the local scene in depth. Along with Henry Mercer, he help found the Bucks County Historical Society. Otter's work as a painter remained relatively obscure, until a renewed interest in his work in the late 1970s revealed the artistry of an otherwise quiet, unassuming man. In 1976, his best known painting On the Road went on tour in the Smithsonian Institute's America as Art exhibit. In 1978, his work received a retrospective at the Mercer Museum.