F. L. Gifford: House, Sign and Carriage Painter


Franklin Lewis Gifford established his business of house painting, sign painting, and carriage painting on the section of lower Water Street near the old Candle House. He was born in Woods Hole, a member of the Gifford family, prominent locally. He left Woods Hole briefly to learn his trade.

Gifford became a recorder of local history, noting many people and events which were later forgotten. After his retirement he taught himself to paint as an artist. He used historical subjects for his paintings, some of which were from his own imagination and others of which were based on photographs. He is most well known for his series of historical paintings, some of which have been donated to the Woods Hole Public Library, where they may be seen. They are also available for viewing on the Museum's website. Although he generally refused to show his works, he became will-known in his day. He was persuaded to show seven paintings at the Whitney Gallery (later the Whitney Museum) in 1926 and was featured in Yankee Magazine in the 1960s.

Main Street, Woods Hole

Main Street, Woods Hole with F.L. Gifford's shop on the left.

Main Street, Woods Hole

Gifford's painting of the steamboat Monohansett landing at Bar Neck Wharf to pick up passengers bound for the Vineyard camp meeting in Oak Bluffs in August, 1870.