Joseph Lindon Smith

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  • Born: 1863, Pawtucket, RI
  • Died: 1950, Dublin, NH

Joseph Lindon Smith was a painter and instructor at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, known for his paintings of Egyptian and Japanese subjects. A close friend of Isabella Stewart Gardner, he often advised Mrs. Gardner on acquisitions of artworks for her collection; thirty-nine of his works are today in the museum she established.[1]

Born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, in 1863, Smith studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston before becoming an instructor there in 1887. After leaving the School in 1891, he traveled to Egypt in 1898, where he painted numerous scenes and artifacts, and to Japan in 1900. One of his Japan paintings, entitled "The Apartments of the Chief Priest, Kyoto," depicts the interior of the dai-hôjô (abbot's quarters) at Chion-in, a 17th century structure which is not extant today. At that time, the temple provided lodgings for interested foreigners; Smith may have stayed there for a time.

Having attracted the attention of archaeologists interested in his ability to paint highly accurate and realistic depictions of archaeological finds, he traveled again to Egypt in 1904, this time alongside expeditions jointly organized & sponsored by the Museum of Fine Arts and Harvard University.

Smith was granted the title of Honorary Curator of Egyptian Art in 1927, a title he kept until his death in 1950.


  1. Twenty-four of these depict Egyptian subjects.