Just like illustrations, works of art can show us what things looked like in the past. But historians should think about both the subject of the art and about the artist.

Abenaki Woman and Man, c. 1750-1780

An artist painted this picture of an Abenaki woman and man in Quebec in the mid-1700s. The names of the people are not known.

The original painting is in the collection of the City of Montreal (BM7).

Benning Wentworth, 1760

This portrait of New Hampshire governor Benning Wentworth was painted by Joseph Blackburn.

The original painting is in the collection of the New Hampshire Historical Society

Child with Cat, c. 1840

A portrait of an unknown child with a cat. This was painted in the Rutland area around 1840. The artist might have been Aaron Dean Fletcher.

Sometimes historians do not know all the details, but we can still use this painting to think about history.

Warren Family, 1843

A portrait of Lester, Elsie and Elvira Warren. This was probably painted in 1843. The artist is not known.

Explore More Clues in Portraits

Montpelier from Col. Jewett's Hill, 1891

Vermont artist James Gilman painted this landscape of Montpelier in 1891. The artist faced east and captured a side view of the State House.

Justin Morrill, 1892

Senator Justin Morrill represented Vermont in the US Senate for over 30 years in the late 1800s. Vermont artist Thomas Waterman Wood painted this portrait.