Henry Waugh came to Indianapolis as a member of a theatrical troupe when he was about twenty years old. During the winter of 1853-54 he assisted Jacob Cox in painting a thirty-scene temperance panorama. Waugh wanted to study in Europe, but did not have the funds to make the trip, so he joined a circus and traveled throughout the United States for three years. He saved enough money to study for six years in Rome. Waugh never had the opportunity to practice his new skill in America, because he died of consumption on his way back to the United States. Very few examples of his work survive, but contemporary writers praised Waugh as a genius “who could paint a picture on the stage to music, in ten minutes.”
Landscape with Bridge, which is probably a scene near Indianapolis, exhibits a luminosity and handling of color that are reminiscent of Jacob Cox’s landscapes. In landscapes such as this one, Waugh and his contemporaries altered natural views to create organized compositions that reflect their European training and nineteenth century landscape techniques.
Mary Q. Burnet. Art and Artists of Indiana, New York: The Century Company, 1921. Reprinted by Unigraphic, Inc., 1981. ASIN: B002J7QO2K