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BORN IN 1798 INTO A FAMILY OF PORTSMOUTH MARINERS, John Samuel Blunt was apprenticed in the Boston workshop of artist John Ritto Penniman where, from age 14 to 21, he mastered the art of ornamentation. Here he met other ambitious young artists who yearned, as he did, to transcend craftwork into the fine art of painting portraits and landscapes. In a career of only a dozen years in Portsmouth and Boston, Blunt was one of an emerging group of American landscape artists to paint directly from nature.