Landscapes on view at the National Gallery contain hidden historical clues
At first blush, Thomas Charles Farrer’s Mount Tom looks like any number of 19th-century canvases: mountains, trees, and water dwarf a tiny figure, this one a fisherman. But all is not pastoral in this painting, which Farrer completed in 1865, the year the Civil War ended. The fisherman’s kepi cap—part of a Union soldier’s uniform—identifies him as a veteran; this could even be a self-portrait of the artist, who served in the Union army.

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