Museums at Stony Brook

Stony Brook, NY



William Sidney Mount: Music Is Contagious!

January 15 - June 18, 2000


A selection of works by acclaimed genre artist William Sidney Mount that testify to his lifelong love of music will be presented at The Museums at Stony Brook from January 15 through June 18, 2000. A talented musician as well as a respected artist, Mount played a variety of instruments, including the fiddle, piccolo, wooden flute, recorder, and fife. His writings reveal that he was a serious instrumentalist, composer, and collector of music as well. He was also an inventor: in 1852 he patented a unique design for a hollow-back violin that he called "The Cradle of Harmony." By the time Mount died, he had collected over 500 pieces of manuscript music and composed original compositions. (left: Dance of the Haymakers, 1845, oil on canvas, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ward Melville, 1950, The Museums at Stony Brook)

During Mount's lifetime (1804-1868), interest in new forms of musical expression grew, and the advent of singing schools, classes in instrumental music, community concerts, and Fourth of July celebrations drew widespread participation in musical activities. Less formal pastimes, such as fiddling in the parlor after dinner, neighborhood dances and impromptu gatherings in local barns, all provided opportunities for the simple musical enjoyment that was captured in many of Mount's works. (right: The Banjo Player, 1856, oil on canvas, 35 3/4 x 28 3/4 inches, The Museums at Stony Brook)

"The Music Is Contagious!" exhibition includes works of art, musical instruments, and memorabilia relating to William Sidney Mount and his family.

Read more about the Museums at Stony Brook in Resource Library Magazine

For further biographical information please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 12/23/10

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