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Reuben Kirkham

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Reuben Kirkham

(Spalding, England, 1845 - 1886, Logan, UT)

This pioneer landscape artist was a native of Spalding, England, and came to Utah from his home country in 1866. Settling temporarily in Great Salt Lake City, he eventually made Logan his home. Before that, Kirkham found work painting scenery for the old Salt Lake Theatre; that experience, along with the painting of panoramas with his friend Alfred Lambourne, led him to work on a number of large canvases. Basically more primitive in style than Lambourne, Kirkham often created fanciful "invented" forms and relationships in various scenes, not dissimilar in some parts to the fanciful forms and relationships in many of the naïve concoctions of a famed kindred spirit in France, Le Douanier ("customs official") Henri Rousseau. A Mormon convert baptized in 1855—like Lambourne, Nathaniel Spens, and John Tullidge as well—Reuben Kirkham spent the last years of his life (beginning in 1884) painting and traveling far and wide with nineteen Book of Mormon panoramas of his own invention.

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