|Nahum Ball Onthank was an eminent portrait artists of his day.|
Largely self-taught, he took instruction later from the celebrated artist Chester Harding, who was also regarded as friend.
After finding quick success and acclaim as an established portrait artist in New London, Connecticut, He latermoved and set up studios in Boston, Massachusetts
Among his best known portraits are those of
- U. S. Vice President Henry Wilson
- U.S. Senator Charles Summer
- The abolitionist John Brown
- The artist Washington Alston
- Mayor James Hyde of Newton
- Henry Villard
- Seth Davis
and many other leading men of the period, as well of course as Onthank family members.
Notable Exhibits of his work included the National Academy in 1848 and 1850, and at the Boston Athenaeum (of which he was a member) between 1853 and 1872.