Quick Reference

Time Period:

The Wilder home, Avery Street,
looking southeast to Putt's and
Mary Lyon hills in Buckland, MA.

Oil on Canvas


Landscapes & Views

30 X 40


Ralph Wilder



The first known used of his trademark red "S" in his signature, not commonplace until after 1922.

Featured Artwork: Snow on the Mountain

RSW's Diary Comments

A Winter Day
A Winter Day, 1939, 25 x 30. Painted in the
studio from the 1918 Snow on the Mountain (30 x 40).

From A Winter Day's diary comments:

"Painted 1938-9. The very first years I was painting I made a winter canvas from inside the house of Charles Wilder's farm on Buckland Hill. For some reason I can not recall, I gave this painting to the carpenter, Ralph Wilder who now owns it. In the winter of 1939 he brought it to the studio and from it I painted a very brilliant 25 x 30 winter canvas (although the original was 30 x 40). Majestic Putts Hill rises in the background above a nearby group of gray and red ended barns and a red silo, around the right of which a road drops off into the valley through apple trees, a two horse sled, opposite the barn end, climbing up the hill. Bought the year I painted it by Mr. and Mrs. P.H.B. Frelinghuysen of Manchester, Vt. and Morristown, N.J. at a time when they were acquiring a number of my chalks and my canvases."

Woodward's signature with the year clipped
Above: Woodward's signature with
the year clipped

Below: A close up of the impasti style
used early in RSW's career
A close up of the impasti style used early in RSW's career

Editor's Notes:

As far as it is known, Snow on the Mountain is the earliest example of Woodward using his trademark red "S". In fact, the next example does not appear until 1922.

The name comes from Dr. Mark, the website's founder. He grew up with a number of the Wilder children and was aware of the painting being in the family. When he started the website, he asked to visit the painting and to photograph it.

Dr. Mark's original remarks about the painting was uncertain of the year being 1918 or 1919 because the close up photo of the signature he took in 2003-'04, clipping the last digit of the date but we are confident the year is clearly 1918.

Further Notes

Commentary from Dr. Mark prior to 2008:

"The oil painting Snow on the Mountain was made looking out the windows of the home of Charles Wilder. The date at the bottom of the painting appears to be 1918. This large 30 x 40 oil apparently was one of the few which survived both the Redgate Studio fire and the Hiram Woodward Studio fire."

Finishing the story, 2023:

Woodward would buy the Southwick Place in late 1934 (a couple months after the Hiram fire) and was in great need of restoration as well as reorganizing to accommodate Woodward's particular needs. The project took a little more than 7 months. Woodward moves into Southwick in March of 1935.

A picture from the rear of Hiram showing the
devastating damage to the studio and large shed.

The recipient of the painting was the carpenter of the restoration Ralph Wilder and apparently in payment for the work the carpenter did for him. It is unknown if this was a "full payment" for services or something Woodward and Wilder had bargained as part of payment. It is possible that Wilder, knowing it was painted from his family home, coveted the painting and had made it part of the deal.

"In the winter of 1939," Woodward reports in his diary comment for A Winter Day, he ask Ralph to bring the painting back to the Southwick Studio to repaint the scene but in a smaller 25 x 30 version.

Editor's Notes:

Dr. Mark makes an excellent point by noting the painting survived two studio fires, but it is misleading. We know now that Woodward was renting and living in the Hiram Woodward main house by 1917 after a couple of years staying in the Burnham Cottage. Technically, the painting was probably never stored at Redgate. It most likely hung at Hiram and was saved from that fire.

Additional Notes

Topographic Map of the scene
Topographic Map of the scene

To the Left: Is a topographic map showing in green the location of the Wilder Farm on Avery Road opposite Lone Tree Hill shaded with purple highlight. The Wilder Farm is opposite the Avery Farm featured in Courage and Peace. Woodward would have to be high enough on the Widler property to see past Lone Tree Hill. The Widler and Avery farms are below the Keach farm Woodward frequented between 1924 and 1933.

The map used is from 1890. It show's clearly the distinct differences between Putnam (Putt's) Hill and the double peak of Mary Lyon Hill also highlighted in purple. The painting clearly shows the double peak of Mary Lyon Hill behind the tree. It is not the first time Woodward refers to Putt's Hill synonymously with Mary Lyon Hill. A misconception they are one in the same that continues to this day due to the high ridge-line leading from one to the other.

This is not the only time Woodward painted from this perpsective (technically, A Winter Day was not painted en plein air). In 1935, he returns to the Wilder property. Only this time he is farther west in the pasture to paint the painting Mary Lyon's Hill. There is another, unnamed painting we nicknamed, Unnamed: Valley and Hill were Woodward goes farther west still. Both paintings show the steeple to the Mary Lyon church on Upper Street. There is a ridge in the Wilder pasture to the left in Mary Lyon's Hill. For the unnamed painting, Woodward places himself on the other side of that ridge and a little farther down to include the pasture lined stone wall at the bottom of the pasture. He seems to be trying to capture the best angle and vantage point.

Woodward would sneak in the twin peaks of Mary Lyon Hill in a number of other paintings:

Spring Tapestry, 1944-'45
Spring Silhouette, 1940-'41
Out the Bedroom Window, 1938
Geranium and the Mountain, 1936

And for a perspective of Avery Road looking up Lone Tree Hill towards the Avery and Wilder farms visit:
October Roadside

The Avery Farm is seen through the trees on the left and to the right is one of the Wilder Farm barns.