|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.
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
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