In 1862 he was elected honorary member of the National Academy of Design and Academician in 1871. In 1863, he became a member of the Association of the Advanced of Truth in Art. In 1866, he departed for Europe for one year. Upon his return and for the following six years he spent the summers on the East Coast.
In the 1870s, he produced many acclaimed watercolor views of the White Mountains, several of which are now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Richards exhibited at the National Academy of Design from 1861 to 1899, and at the Brooklyn Art Association from 1863 to 1885. He was elected a full member of the National Academy in 1871.