Warren Nixon


Nixon a painter from Framingham, Massachusetts, was active in calligraphy, paintings relating to parent and child, and family records. He is of particular interest because of hisrelationship to another Framingham folk artist, Joseph Stone (1774–1818). Nixon’s earliest known work is a page of calligraphy from an exercise book, consisting of seven horizontal lines of the alphabet, each written in a different style. It isinscribed
“Wrote [sic] April 25th 1808; by Warren Nixon agd 15 years, 1 1/2 month.” During the following few years he created calligraphic book-plates for himself, his uncle, his brother, Otis, and his wife-to-be, Salome Rice. All but one of the plates includes his name, age, and date of execution.Two watercolor and ink paintings dealing with the relationship between parent and son were painted in 1816. One, identified as “PLATE IV,”
depicts a young manseated by the bedside of an older woman, and is signed and dated, “Warren Nixon. Framingham 1816.”
An inscription speaks of the duty of the son to be there ashis mother dies and, with his filial tenderness, to make her death easier. The second, picturing a weary young man with an elderly one, bears words that imply that theyounger man is being led by the older one to a resting place. It is signed and dated, nd inscribed “PLATE V.”
The numbering of the paintings suggests that they are part of a series of at least five.Two family registers also can be attributed to Nixon. The first is inscribed, “With a pen this was done for a father by a son at the age of twenty-two as you may plainly view. Warren Nixon 1815”
and “Long will this endure, if it be kept secure and will be handed down to generations to come, when you and I havedone.” The second is a watercolor-and-ink family register for Eliphalet Wheeler, based on another register engraved between 1810 and 1820 by Peter Maverick.Signed and dated, “W.Nixon Pinx. Framingham 1820” it is Nixon’s last known painting.Genealogical links between the two Framingham painters, along with stylistic similarities in their paintings, make it likely that Stone was Nixon’s teacher, who wasnineteen years’ his junior. Between 1820 and his death in Framingham in 1872, Nixon was employed as a teacher, land surveyor, selectman, and justice.