Fanny Robertson Thurston (1839-1920)


Miss Fanny R. Thurston was born February 15, 1839 and died December 11, 1920. She is buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery in New London CT. She was active in the period 1876 to 1885. An F. Thurston (presumably Fanny) exhibited in the 1876 exhibition of the American Society of Painters in Watercolor. Fanny R. Thurston exhibited at the Boston Art Club in 1880, 1881, and 1882. She also exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1885 giving her address as New London, Connecticut. An entry in an 1882 artists’ directory (compiled by S. R. Koehler) notes that she exhibited with the Philadelphia Society of Artists. Her address in that publication was 60 Bank Street, New London, Connecticut.

Gravestone of Fanny R. Thurston (1839-1920)

Gravestone of Fanny R. Thurston (1839-1920)

Thurston’s mother was Frances Deshon, probably one of the wealthy and influential Deshons of New London. Her father, Benjamin Babcock Thurston, owned a general store in Hopkinton, RI. He served as Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island from 1837-1838 and as a Representative to Congress from Rhode Island from 1847-1949 and 1851-1857. Some sources cite New London as her birthplace, but it seems more likely that Rhode Island was the place of her birth, since this was the residence of her father. The 1870 census indicates the family was then living in New London.

In New London, Fanny taught painting to the young ladies of the community. The Avery-Copp House in Groton, CT, has a watercolor by her of Niantic, CT.

Database of Connecticut Artists