Quick Reference

Time Period:
Approx. 1945 - '46


Oil on Canvas


Woods, Redgate






RSW friend Helen Patch made a reference to wanting to buy a painting named Early Moonlight for her son and his new bride as a wedding gift but couldn't afford it at the time. It is uncertain if she got the name correct or not but we know this couldn't possibly be the 1921 version which sold to the Springfield Museum George Walter Vincent Smith Collection.

Related Links

Featured Artwork: Early Moonlight #2


If you have any information regarding this artwork, please
contact us

RSW's Diary Comments


Additional Notes

Early Moonlight
The only image we have of the 1921,
Early Moonlight.

In a letter to the Deerfield Academy's American Studies Group RSW friend Helen Patch made a reference to wanting to buy a painting named Early Moonlight for her son and his new bride as a wedding gift but couldn't afford it at the time. Initially we confused this with a painting by the same name painted prior to 1921 and sold to the George Walter Vincent Smith Collection of the Springfield Museum. However, the years simply did not match up. Helen would have been no more than 25 years old in 1920 and not nearly old enough to have an adult son. So we believe that RSW may have "repainted" another painting he may have been unsatisfied with that was sitting in his studio for a number of years. What we do not know is if she got the name right. There is no reason to believe she did other than her letter was written 24 years after the fact and she was 74 years old at the time. Until we learn otherwise we have now added this painting to the Woodward list of complete works.

From approximately 1938 to 1945, RSW painted a number of composite paintings, prompted by his having to paint a new version of Mary Lyon's Church which did not fit (or fill) the space it was intended buy the buyer Emmet Hays Naylor. The new version of Mary Lyon's Church was a 22" x 42" panoramic scene named Heart of New England which fit ideally over Emmets fireplace. A year or so later, for an unknown reason, he painted a 20" x 40" version of Enduring New England and/or the Marlboro Church using componants of Heart of New England (the left side tree lined road) and Grace of Years (the large elm tree on the right) to complete the scene. He would paint another 6 (or more) composite paintings over the next five years.

This coincided with a period of pulling out old canvases he held onto in the hopes he would take another shot at painting the scene he was never quite satisfied with in his earlier version. One such painting discovered somewhat recently but unnamed, is believed to be one of a number of paintings RSW repainted from his Quintessential Redgate period of dark wooded scenes favored in his early years. Its name is Unnamed: Winter's Mist for its resemblance to an early version of that name. We believe this Early Moonlight may also be a "repainted" version of an earlier painting. However, we cannot say for certain if it resembles its namesake, the 1921, Early Moonlight.

We do not have a reason for RSW doing this but it does give rise to a number of questions... (1) Was this a lull in inspiration for Woodward? Was he having trouble coming up with fresh ideas? (2)Was he simply trying something new? Or seeking new inspiration in other methods? (3) Was this a period of illness and ailments that kept him home-bound and unable to get out in the field? (4) Was the panoramic 20" x 40" size simply popular at the time and he wanted to offer some options to wanting customers. Given that he was pretty productive at this time, it is most likely the second question asked, however, it is an interesting angle to an artist who was particularly known to paint what he sees, as he sees it.

Promotional Items