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FOLK ART
 
conflicting characteristics within the paintings 
and by the scarcity of signed examples.  All that 
was known of the two painters was that their 
double signature appeared on portraits dated 
from February 18,1832 to March 25,1833.  
Early speculation about the identities of R.W. and 
S.A. Shute and their relationship suggested that the 
artists were sisters or perhaps mother and child. 

     Research was seriously begun in 1978 when 
Helen Kellogg bought an unsigned "primative" 
pastel of a boy and was determined to identify 
the artist. Extensive research and the location of 
similar paintings in watercolor, oil, and pastel 
enabled her to unravel the mystery of the 
Shutes and their style. 

The Shutes
Ruth Whittier, born in Dover, New Hampshire 
on October 23,1803, was the eighth of Abideal 
and Sarah (Austin) Whittier's nine children and 
the first cousin of the writer John Greenleaf 
Whittier.  Although Ruth was dismissed from 
the Quaker meeting in which she was raised 
when she married Dr. Samuel A. Shute, a non- 
Quaker, she always considered herself a 
Quaker. 

     Samuel A. Shute, born in Byfield, 
Massachusetts, was the son of Aaron and 
Betsy (Poore) Shute. Samuel was trained 
as a medical doctor. In 1827, he and Ruth 
Whittier were married and moved to Weare, 
New Hampshire. There Samuel established 
his medical practice and became an active 
member of the community, participating 
in Fourth of July celebrations and the 
organization of a new Masonic Lodge. 

     As no paintings have been discovered dated 
prior to 1827, it is asumed that they began their 
careers as itinerant artists after their marriage. 
The first painting was from Lowell, Mass- 
achusetts, and dated November 9, 1828. During 
the next four years they traveled throughout 
New England and were in Lowell for at least two 
periods of time in 1828 and 1831-1832. 

     In 1834, they moved to Champlain, New 
York, a village near the Canadian border, where 
earlier generations of the Shute family had 
settled.  Samuel died in Champlain on January 
30,1836, at the age of 32.  It is thought that he 
was ill for several years prior to his death, as

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