The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

August 27, 2016


As far as I can remember, early American 'folk art' {broadly speaking...} was the first to awaken my interest in looking at art, and I am still strongly drawn to it.  So it was a great treat to spend this morning at Cogwell's Grant, an 18th-century farmhouse in Essex, Mass. filled with paintings, furniture, rugs, carved ostrich eggs, pottery, china, wooden signs and many other kinds of art and antiques collected by Bertram and Nina Fletcher Little. {The Littles, I learned, purchased the house and its surrounding land in the 1930s, as a summer home;  their other house, with another, more 'formal' collection of folk art, was in Brookline. Cogswell's Grant and its collections were given to Historic New England in the 1990s, and I remember coming here once before, soon after I moved to Boston, probably the minute it opened. :)}

There is so much to look at, from carved ostrich eggs to hooked rugs, but this was a special tour focusing on the portraits in the house, most of them painted in the early 19th century.  There were dozens of them, and a common theme of  looking at how the artists focused on what was important to their sitters {and not overly much on flattering them...}  Many of the portraits showed contrasts: attention paid to capturing a face, but much less to hands or clothing, or great skill in depicting lace or jewelry, but less expertise with perspective or other artistic techniques, or a head that sits a little oddly on its shoulders.

These last two — painted c. 1814-1816 by Ammi Phillips — were the ones that I loved most.  {The images I found don't really do them justice ...} They're large and very softly tinted, hanging side by side in an upstairs bedroom, and so lovely, and then there are those frowns... )

1 comment:

Bellezza said...

I wish I could have been there with you! Thank for posting these beautiful paintings, and reminding me of a simpler time. So peaceful to my soul.

Thank you for visiting!

Card Catalog

#6barsets #emma200th #maisie #Middlemarchin2019 #PalliserParty #Woolfalong A.A. Milne Agatha Christie Alexander McCall Smith Allison Pearson Amy Lowell Angela Thirkell Ann Bridge Anne Perry Anthony Trollope Anticipation Armchair Travels Art Audiobooks Barbara Pym Biography Bloomsbury Bookish things Boston British Library Crime Classics Cambridge Cathleen Schine Charles Dickens Coffee-table books Cookbooks D.E. Stevenson Deborah Crombie Donna Leon Dorothy L. Sayers Dorothy Whipple E.H. Young E.M. Delafield E.M. Forster Edith Wharton Elinor Lipman Elizabeth Gaskell Elizabeth Jenkins Elizabeth Taylor Elizabeth von Arnim Ellizabeth Taylor Emily Dickinson Ernest Hemingway Essays Eudora Welty Fanny Burney Fiction Films Food from Books Food Writing Found on a Blog George Eliot Georgette Heyer Gertrude Stein Helen Ashton Henry James History Homes and Haunts Ideas Imogen Robertson Isabella Stewart Gardner Jacqueline Winspear Jane Austen Joanna Trollope Julia Child Language Laurie Colwin Letters Library Books Literature Louise Andrews Kent Louise Penny M.F.K. Fisher Madame Bovary Madame de Sévigné Madame de Staël Margaret Kennedy Margery Sharp Martha Grimes Mary Shelley Memoirs Miss Read My Year with Edith Mysteries Nathaniel Hawthorne Nonfiction Nook Only Connect P.D. James Paris in July Persephones Plays Poetry Pride and Prejudice 200 Queen Victoria R.I.P. Reading England 2015 Ruth Rendell Sarah Orne Jewett Short Stories Susan Hill Switzerland Sylvia Beach Team Middlemarch The 1924 Club The Brontës the Carlyles The Classics Club Thomas Hardy Virago Virginia Woolf Washington Irving Willa Cather William Maxwell Winifred Peck Winifred Watson