The Pilgrim Society & Pilgrim Hall Museum is pleased to announce the opening of a new special exhibition, “Scenes & Sitters: Paintings from the Collection.”
More than thirty rarely-displayed, original paintings from Pilgrim Hall Museum’s permanent collection will be exhibited in Scenes & Sitters: Paintings from the Collection. The centerpiece of the exhibit is the newly restored portrait of Gen. John Winslow, the great-grandson of Mayflower passenger Edward Winslow. The portrait was done in 1756 by the artist Joseph Blackburn, the leading portraitist in Boston during the late 1750s and early 1760s until surpassed by his apprentice John Singleton Copley.
Others portraits in the exhibit include artist Christian Gullagher’s 1790s portrait of John Davis and his wife Ellen Watson Davis, Cephas Giovanni Thompson’s 1830s portrait of Major Judah Alden, Ethan Allen Greenwood’s 1813 portrait of Ephraim Spooner, and the truly unique portrait of the American artist John Trumbull painted by both Gilbert Stuart and Trumbull himself.
Fifteen history paintings depicting episodes from early Massachusetts history will be displayed alongside the portraits. Thirteen of the paintings were commissioned by the Old Colony Trust Company of Boston for a commemorative publication called New England Old and New. Ten of these were painted by the important twentieth-century artist Henry Botkin (1896-1983). Botkin’s paintings were among his earliest commissions right after he finished art school, establishing his career as an illustrator for magazines and other publications throughout the 1920s. Botkin went on to become a leading abstract painter, helped by a close friendship with his first cousins George and Ira Gershwin. The Old Colony Trust Company donated the paintings to the Museum in 1925. This is the first time all thirteen illustrations have been displayed together.
Many of the paintings on display in this exhibit have rarely been seen by the public. As visitors to the exhibit will see for themselves, paintings age over time, and many are in need of conservation. By showing the need and the potential results, like the restored portrait of Gen. John Winslow, it is hoped that visitors will appreciate the role and responsibility Pilgrim Hall Museum has for preserving and maintaining these remarkable works of art.
The exhibition is presented through the support of the LeBaron Foundation.
Pilgrim Hall Museum will host a reception to celebrate the opening of the exhibition on Saturday, February 21 from 5 – 7 p.m. The reception is free of charge.
The exhibition will be on display in the PIDC gallery at Pilgrim Hall Museum from February 1 to May 2, 2015. Those who wish to set up a special group tour of the exhibition should contact Director of Visitor Services Ann Young at 508-746-1620 x.4. For more information about the exhibition in general, contact Curator Stephen O’Neill at 508-746-1620 x.5.