Bowdoin College Museum of Art Snaps Up Winslow Homer’s Antique Camera

Late 19th-century Mason & Swan camera, originally owned by artist Winslow Homer. Photo: Courtesy of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

Thanks to a donation, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Maine, (BCMA) is now the proud owner of an antique camera that once belonged to American painter and printmaker Winslow Homer (1836–1910). Manufactured by British photography business Mawson & Swan around 1880, the camera, intended for serious amateurs rather than studio professionals, was purchased by Homer in 1882. The following year, he moved to the Prouts Neck peninsula in Scarborough, Maine, where he would spend the rest of his life.

The newly acquired camera complements the museum’s existing Homer collection, which includes archival materials related to the artist’s life and work, and over 100 vintage photographs. An exhibition on Homer and photography will open at the BCMA in August 2015. The donation comes from Neal Paulsen, a longtime resident of Scarborough whose grandfather received the camera from Homer’s nephew in exchange for electrical work.

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