Out of storage and into the library!

Like most museums, our collection includes a number of beautiful paintings that spend most of their time in storage.  As a way to share these items with the public, we recently decided to move three paintings over to the library!

View of Boston Harbor (1884.0209)
One of the paintings that is now hanging in the library is View of Boston Harbor by John White Allen Scott (1815 - 1907).  Painted in 1853, this painting has been part of the Boston Society's collection since 1884.  It is an oil painting, but was originally done with the intention of being engraved. Scott was a Boston painter and lithographer, known for portraits, landscape, and marine images. He was a friend of fellow artist Fitz Henry Lane (also known as Fitz Hugh Lane). According to The Handbook of the Bostonian Society, Scott and Lane "served an apprenticeship together in the Pendleton shop, and were partners from 1845 to 1847 in a lithographic firm of there own."  (The Pendleton shop refers to the lithographic print shop that was run by brothers William and John Pendleton.)  In the 1853 Boston city directory, Scott is listed as an artist with studio space at 265 Washington Street, but he had previously held space in the Tremont Temple, until it was damaged in a fire in April 1852.

View of Boston Harbor is a large painting that depicts Boston's waterfront in the mid 1800s.  It shows a bustling seaport with horse-drawn carts moving merchandise up and down Broad Street.  A group of men are shown on scaffolding in the right foreground of the image, constructing a new building out of bricks.  Only a few of the buildings in the painting are identified by name, one has a sign reading "Arch Wharf Sail Loft" and the other reads "George H. Gray and Danforth Hardware."  Broad Street was laid out and named in June 1805 and it still exists today, but over the years it has been expanded and cut in places.  This painting provides insight into how the street looked in the 1850s, and the building under construction gives a hint to the changes yet to come to the street.

Our newly refurbished library, with Silva's painting on view
The other paintings on display in the library are Schooner Passing Castle Island by Francis Augustus Silva and Sovereign of the Seas by James Edward Buttersworth. With new items on the walls, we decided that it was about time to freshen up the library a bit. Thanks to a generous donation from one of our long-time members, we were able to paint the walls, install new carpet, and mount special UV window shades that will protect the paintings from light damage.  We're excited about the changes in our library, and hope that our visitors and researchers enjoy the new space as much as we do.

By Elizabeth Roscio, Library and Archives Manager