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FOLK ART
 
Unidentified

among the watercolors produced during the 
second period.  The earliest known paintings on 
which the Shutes collaborated are the portraits of 
the Atkinson family of Lowell, Massachusetts.  The 
portraits can be dated by the December 13,1831, 
issue of the Boston Recorder held by the subject, 
James V. Atkinson.  In addition to working dates 
into their paintings, the Shutes identify many of 
their subjects by having them hold a letter, book, 
or document with the person's name revealed. 

The Atkinson Family
The subjects of the four paintings by R.W. 
Shute and S.A. Shute were members of one of 
Lowell's earliest families, the Atkinson family. 
 
     James V. Atkinson (1784-1874) and his wife 
Cynthia Bicknell (1801-1865), the subjects of the 
first two paintings, were married on June 29, 
1827. Cynthia was one of seven children of 
Lemuel and Abigail (Cutter) Bicknell. Cynthia 
and her sisters worked in the Lowell mills as 
operatives until their marriages.  James had 
several occupations, including being one of the 
only two town criers Lowell ever had, making 
nightly rounds ringing a handbell, announcing 
curfew, and delivering other messages. Later, 
he was city crier and bill poster James and 
Cynthia were in Lowell as early as 1824.  James 
was listed as a member of the Beethoven Society,

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