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Coggeshall with camera
Coggeshall with camera on tripod
John Coggeshall used photography in a variety of ways.  Many of his photographs, including city scenes, churches, group portraits, and interiors, are documents of the life around him.  He also used photographs to help with detail in his painting and sometimes created an entire painting from a photograph.  During his lifetime, photography was elevated to the status of art, and many of his pictures evidence his intense interest in this new art form.  Among the hundreds of glass plate negatives, some are studies for paintings while others record the people and places of his world,  but many are simply  beautiful pictures.

Coggeshall practiced engraving during America's heyday of illustration.  His engraving business, first with James Rice and later, Joseph Piper, produced advertising and logos for many businesses in Lowell and elsewhere.  The heading for the first issue of the Lowell Sun was printed from a Coggeshall 1878 engraving.  Among Coggeshall's photographs are many taken for E.B. Conant, a Lowell auctioneer of industrial buildings.  Coggeshall made engravings from photographs  to illustrate catalogs of the buildings offered for dale by Mr. Conant.

     In addition to being an expert painter, photographer and engraver, Coggeshall was a loving husband, father and grandfather. He ran an engraving business and summer art school.  He also found time to write poetry and essays, to charter and lead a boy scout troop, join the state militia and the Sons of the American Revolution, and be a member of the Kirk Street Congregational Church.

     John Ingersoll Coggeshall was indeed "a man of strong spaces."  These were the environments in which he chose to paint, photograph and spend time. Like many artists of his era, he welcomed the new engraving and photographic technologies engendered by an unstoppable industrial progress even as he depicted the wide American landscapes being lost to it.

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