Foreword Reviews

The Last Amateur

The Life of William J. Stillman

2014 INDIES Finalist
Finalist, Biography (Adult Nonfiction)

Born the 1st of June, 1828, this restless man from Schenectady set aside a fairly promising painting career at the Hudson River School to help found the nation’s first critical art journal, The Crayon. Tall, ruggedly handsome, and adventurous, he chummed around with Louis Agassiz, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and other Eastern notables, and complemented his landscape brush with the newly invented camera in the late 1850s.

Not for the first time, Europe called, in the form of consular service in Rome during the US Civil War, and William Stillman’s eclectic life was put on an extraordinary trajectory—art, photography, writing, disarming earnestness, intelligence, and a revolutionary’s spirit all serving to open doors from London to Crete, the Balkans to Paris.

He pursued archaeology seriously, took some of history’s most revered photos of the Athens Acropolis, and served as a correspondent for The Times of London for many years.

The man from Schenectady died in early July, 1901, at his beloved home in Surrey, England. The Last Amateur, in splendid prose, proves that they don’t make men like they used to.

Reviewed by Matt Sutherland

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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