Landscape in Green Carbon

Landscape in Green Carbon

Printed in green carbon, this fine landscape by Brooklyn Camera Club president William T. Knox is presented here in its’ original oak frame, probably ca. 1906-07. Made by James E. Underhill, a fellow club member and retaining its’ original green and white label on the frame verso. (Jas. E. Underhill, 33 John St., New York City. MAKER Picture Frames.) A biography of William T. Knox along with a portrait of the photographer by Charles F. Clarke can be found here.

Collected as one of five original works by this archive, four of which have been positively identified as being by Knox through reproductions located in period photographic publications, we are tentatively giving attribution to him for “Landscape in Green Carbon”. William Knox was known to have sometimes printed his work in this medium, and provenance for these collected works in their original frames comes from the same source. 

One reference to a possible clue as to the title of this work as well as several by the maker of the frame-James E. Underhill- comes from the January, 1907 issue of Camera Craft. In the article “The Third American Salon” written by Walter Thurston:

William T. Knox, of New York, has a green carbon, a woodland interior, that is far superior to average in selection and treatment. Another New York worker, James E. Underhill, has two, his “Old Bermudan Home” being a good architectural study, with the additional charm of what seems to be a fine rendition of tropical moonlight. (p. 32)

Provenance: Acquired by PhotoSeed in August, 2019 from a dealer in Brooklyn, New York who stated it had come from the former estate of a woman who had lived on E. 12th Street in Brooklyn.

Timeline: James Engle Underhill: A Fine Picture Framer: 1870-1914 


1870:  U.S. Census: Living in Brooklyn’s 20th Ward, James Engle Underhill was 5 months old when Census taken. Living with father Henry, a drug store clerk, and mother Clarinda Ann Underhill, (1848-1914) a homemaker.


1900: U.S. Census: Underhill’s occupation listed as Art Dealer; living in Brooklyn at 144 South Elliott Place.

A surviving label from his business from around this time or earlier is printed: James E. Underhill, Cor. Nassau & John Sts. New York City. First Floor. MAKER of Fine Picture Frames: For any style Wall Decorations. Flemish, Dutch, Italian, Colonial & Modern Effects. Hardwoods & ____. Commercial & Exhibition Work. Dealer & Importer in Water Colors, Etchings, Gravures & Prints.


1902: Or before: Underhill conducting business as a picture framer at 33 John Street in New York City.  His residence is 281 Stuyvesant Ave. (Source: The City of New York: September 4 Appendix: Proceedings of the Board of Aldermen.)


1905: James E. Underhill and younger brother Henry L.(ouis) Underhill, (b. 1874- died May 8, 1919 ) are listed as being on the Executive Committee and Committee on Rooms and Appliances with the Department of Photography of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences. (first organized in March, 1889) Around this time, Underhill, like William T. Knox, was a member of the Brooklyn Camera Club and listed as having won many awards for his photographs in the Photographic Press.


– At the annual Exhibition of the Brooklyn Camera Club, Underhill awarded the President’s cup for best picture in the exhibit and a silver medal for his photograph “August Morning”, a marine study. (Camera Craft, April. p. 246)


1906: At The New Gallery in London, exhibits two photographs: “Against Storm and Tide” and “Snow and Sleet” during the 51st Annual Exhibition of the Royal Photographic Society .


1913: Advertisement in November issue of Arts and DecorationPicture Framers: “Hardwood, Veneer and Antique gold effects. Particular attention will be given to out of town orders. James E. Underhill, 33 John Street, New York.


1914: Dies on February 14th. Buried along with his mother and brother at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

Landscape in Green Carbon

Image Dimensions23.4 x 19.7 cm flush mounted

Support DimensionsFrame: 32.6 x 28.6 x 2.0 cm (Shown with glass removed) Support: 23.6 x 19.7 cm Thick, Bristol-board type matrix