Charles Ethan Porter (1847-1923) was a 19th century African American still-life artist most famous for his portraits of fruit and floral still-life studies. Porter was born in Hartford and moved with his family to Rockville in the 1850s. In 1869, after two years of study in Fine Art at Wesleyan Academy (now Wilbraham and Monson Academy) in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, Porter was accepted to the National Academy of Design in New York City. He may have been the first African American to study there and was among the first to exhibit at the school. Carrying with him a letter of recommendation from Mark Twain in 1881, Porter moved to France where he studied in prestigious Parisian art schools and painted in the surrounding countryside. In later years, he had a studio near his Rockville home in the base of a tower, where he painted and taught lessons to local children. The studio stood at the site of the present Fox Hill Tower. Although his work declined in the early 1900s, Porter had made a successful life as an artist, boasting acclaim by art critics in Hartford, Rockville and New York City, and remembered today as a master of still life.
This home is privately owned and not open to the public.