Wallace Nutting

Wallace Nutting (1961-1941) was America’s most famous photographer of the early 20th century. A retired Minister, Nutting took more than 50,000 pictures, keeping 10,000 of his best and destroying the rest. His most popular and best selling scenes included Exterior Scenes (apple blossoms, colorful birches, country lanes, orchards, calm streams, and rural American countrysides), Interior Scenes (usually featuring a colonial woman working near a hearth), and Foreign Scenes (typically thatch-roofed cottages or other exotic European views). His poorest selling pictures, which have become today’s rarest and most highly collectible pictures, are classified as Miscellaneous Unusual Scenes and include categories not included above such as Animals, Architecturals, Children, Floral Still Lifes, Men, Seascapes, and Snow scenes.

Process Prints are 1930’s machine-produced reprints of 12 of his most popular pictures. These have minimal value and can be detected by using a magnifying glass.

Nutting sold literally millions of his hand-colored platinotype pictures between 1900 and his death in 1941. Starting first in Southbury CT and later moving his business to Framingham MA, the peak of his picture production was 1915-25. During this period he employed nearly 200 people, including colorists, darkroom staff, salesman, and assorted office personnel. Nutting pictures proved to be a huge commercial success and hardly an American household was without one by 1925. While attempting to seek out the finest and best early American furniture as props for his colonial Interior scenes, Nutting became an expert in early American Antiques. He published nearly 20 books in his lifetime, including his 10-volume “State Beautiful” series, and various other books on Furniture, Photography, Clocks, and his own personal Biography. His 3-volume Furniture Treasury included more than 5,000 photos of rare antiques and is still considered one of the finest books on Early American Antiques ever published. He also contributed many photographs which were published in magazines and other books as well.

Nutting also became widely known for his reproduction furniture. His furniture shop reproduced literally hundreds of different furniture forms of clocks, stools, chairs, settles, settees, tables, stands, desks, mirrors, beds, chests of drawers, cabinet pieces, and treenware. His furniture was clearly marked with his distinctive Paper Label (which was glued directly onto the piece), or the Block Brand or Script Signature Brand, which was literally “branded” into his furniture. His furniture was clearly marked and, if you cannot easily locate a marking, then your piece most likely is not Wallace Nutting.

The overall synergy of the Wallace Nutting name…pictures…books…and furniture…has made nearly anything “Wallace Nutting” quite collectible over the past 25 years.

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