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Pratt, Henry Cheever (1803–1880)

Pauline A. Pinckney Biography Entry

Henry Cheever Pratt, artist, was born in Oxford, New Hampshire, on June 13, 1803. While working on his father's farm in 1817, the boy was found to have artistic talent and ambition by Samuel F. B. Morse, who took him to Charleston, South Carolina, and in 1821 to Washington, D.C. Morse taught him the rudiments of painting and employed him for a number of years as an assistant in his studio. In 1845 Pratt joined Thomas Cole on a painting expedition to Maine. In 1851 he joined John Russell Bartlett on the survey of the boundary between the United States and Mexico and made hundreds of sketches, some of which he expanded into oil paintings. He painted portraits of John Russell Bartlett (1852) and James Wiley Magoffin (1852) and a number of landscapes while he was in the Southwest. View of Smith's West Texas Ranch (1852), an oil painting, is now owned by the Texas Memorial Museum at the University of Texas. Examples of Pratt's watercolors and drawings are owned by Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, and the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth. Bartlett's Personal Narrative... published in 1857 included thirty of Pratt's illustrations. The artist died in Wakefield, Massachusetts, on November 27, 1880.

Doris Dawdy, Artists of the American West (3 vols., Athens, Ohio: Swallow, 1974–86). Pauline A. Pinckney, Painting in Texas: The Nineteenth Century (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967).


  • Visual Arts
  • Graphic Arts
  • Painting

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Pauline A. Pinckney, “Pratt, Henry Cheever,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 11, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995