Interpretive Resource

Tool: Sketch block

Homer executed Sunshine and Shadow, Prout’s Neck on sheets of Whatman watercolor paper that were bound in a solid block with a gumlike adhesive and gauze on four sides. These drawing blocks were described in a 1855 Winsor and Newton catalog:
"These sketch books contain a number of sheets of paper strained and securely fastened at the edge, so that a water-colour picture may be entirely executed upon it, and, when finished, may be detached by inserting a penknife under the sheet of paper, and passing it all round." (Winsor and Newton 1855, n.p.)


Catalog illustration of a drawing block of the type Homer used. Published in J. S. Templeton, A Guide to Oil Painting, Part 1: Elementary (London: George Rowney and Company, c. 1860), p. 9.

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