Morgan Colt

American, 1876 - 1926
Morgan Colt was born in Summit, New Jersey, on September 1876. He studied at the School of Architecture, Columbia University, then practiced with a New York firm. Around 1905 he gave up architecture and settled near New Hope to study with William L. Lathrop and to "devote himself to creating things where there was no hampering by clients' tastes or whimsies.

Colt and his wife, Jane Boudinot Keith, first lived in a rented house on the towpath near Rabbit Run Bridge. Then in 1910 they purchased a building, a former pigsty, near the Lathrops at Phillips Mill converting it to a home and workplace that he called the Gothic Shop.

Colt was influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, which began in England in the latter half of the nineteenth century and eventually spread across the United States. The movement marked a resurgence in handmade works, hearkening back to medieval handicrafts and guilds. Colt designed and made objects of everyday life-doors, windows, screens, furniture, fire place equipment, and household accessories. He carved and gilded wood, hammered copper, twisted iron, molded and colored cement, and tooled and painted leather, aided in the fabrication of his metal works by blacksmiths Amos Armitage and Isaac Wallwork. Wallwork was also a creative contributor to the works Colt designed and produced. Ironwork and a carved altar by Colt can still be seen at Saint Philip's Chapel, on River Road, north of New Hope.

Colt also painted landscapes, often in a brightly colored impressionist style influenced by Claude Monet. "An illness ... prevented him from painting out-of-doors." Nevertheless he became a master in easel painting done in the studio. Colt exhibited regularly at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, from 1909 to 1926, at the annual exhibitions of the National Academy of Design in New York from 1915 to 1917 and again in 1919, and in the 1916 Biennial Exhibition of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

In 1916 Colt joined Rae Sloan Bredin, Daniel Garber, William L. Lathrop, Charles Rosen, and Robert Spencer in forming the New Hope Group, which exhibited together for many years at important venues around the country. Colt was a member of the Art Alliance of Philadelphia, the Boston Art Club, the New York Society of Craftsmen, and the Salmagundi Club.

After suffering heart trouble for ten years, Colt died suddenly on April 12, 1926, of an apparent heart attack while on his way to the mail box in front of his home.' He had no children' Many of his paintings were scattered and lost after his death, and they are extremely rare today.

Biography courtesy of Roughton Galleries,
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