Two early Farmington artists were actually engravers: Joel Allen (1755–1825) and Martin Bull (1744–1825). Allen engraved the first American book on musical harmony, and Bull did the Farmington Library’s bookplate. They were craftsmen as well as artists, and the folk art–crafts tradition is also seen in our ancient graveyard, “Memento Mori.” There we see markers carved by men who have been called “the earliest American folk artists.” Names such as Gershom Bartlett, James Stanclift and the Johnson family are well-known among students of this art form. Interestingly, carver Stanclift’s remote descendent John Wells Stancliff was a successful nineteenth-century Connecticut artist.
Photos courtesy of Brooke Martin