A while ago I found a painting of the cherry trees at the tidal basin which caught my eye. It isn’t much, and originally I thought it was a colored photograph, but upon closer examination I realized that it was actually a painting that included the signature E.B. Chappell, 1921. Doing a quick search for the name, I came up empty and set it aside as a project for another day. You can see a photograph of the painting below.
(Painting by Edwin B. Chappell, 1921.)
Last weekend I took up the project again and this time I found a reference that identified the artist.
According to an obituary in the Washington Post, the artist was Edwin B. Chappell. Chappell was born in England ca. 1851 and in his youth immigrated to America, settling in Bedford, Pennsylvania. He moved to Washington, D.C. in 1918 and lived in the Petworth neighborhood at 4020 Third Street, NW, from 1919 until his death in 1925. He was known for painting pictures of the Japanese cherry blossoms in Potomac Park.
Sadly his latter years were not without pain and suffering, as sixteen years prior to his death he injured his back in an accident when he fell from a scaffold. About a year prior to his death, Chappell fell from a ladder and broke his arm, and in the summer of 1924 he was struck by an automobile which left him crippled and despondent.