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NEWS RELEASE / AUGUST 15, 2018
Noted Authors Patricia Harris and David Lyon to Discuss Their New Book, Historic New England: A Tour of the Region's Top 100 National Landmarks, at Chesterwood on Sept. 15
Stockbridge, Mass. (Aug. 15, 2018) – Chesterwood, in collaboration with the Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios Program, will present a free public lecture, discussion and book signing at Chesterwood on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. The lecture and visual presentation, “Genius loci: How New England Shaped its Artists and Writers”, will feature guest speakers Patricia Harris and David Lyon, authors of the recently released Historic New England: A Tour of the Region's Top 100 National Landmarks, published by Globe Pequot Press earlier this year. Books will be available for purchase at the event and light refreshments will be served. Due to limited seating, preregistration is recommended by contacting Valerie Balint at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-298-3579, x. 2033.
Harris and Lyon, who have authored more than 30 books on travel, food, and art, will read excerpts from their new guidebook and will use sites included within the book to discuss how the romanticism of New England’s natural landscape pervades American art and letters: from the publication of Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay “Nature” in 1836 through the construction of Philip Johnson's Glass House in 1949. Some of the sites they will discuss include Daniel Chester French’s Chesterwood (Mass.), Herman Melville’s Arrowhead (Mass.), the Winslow Homer Studio (Maine), Robert Frost Farm (N.H.), Walden Pond (Mass.), and the Philip Johnson Glass House (Conn.). The presentation will place these sites within the context of the other National Historic Landmarks throughout New England. The six New England states have nearly 400 such places.
“As writers, we find it gratifying that so many homes and studios of artists, sculptors, architects, and writers are among our treasured landmarks,” said Lyon. “Chesterwood, a National Historic Landmark, is a touchstone of such creativity, and it is our pleasure to speak about the intersection of national values and creative spaces in such a magical place.”
“Historic New England grew out of our fascination with the incredible diversity of places that have been designated as National Historic Landmarks—the most elite category of historic designation,” said Harris. “The list was never conceived as a barometer of what we value as a people, but it turns out to deeply reflect our common values.”
For their publication, Harris and Lyon focused on tours of the 100 sites offering the most intriguing and rewarding history. In addition to historic houses and tall ships, Historic New England examines such quirky spots as the country's oldest weather stations, carousels, and sandy beaches. From Fairfield, Connecticut’s Birdcraft Sanctuary to the Windjammers of Rockland, Maine, the book holds appeal for the historical enthusiast, the armchair traveler, and both local visitors and tourists alike.
“We are thrilled to host David and Patricia at Chesterwood to discuss their new book. As the preserved home and studio of one of America’s most important monumental sculptors, Daniel Chester French – who was himself a native New Englander – we are excited to highlight the importance that arts and literature have historically played in this region and its links to national identity,” said Valerie Balint, program manager for Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios. “We are also looking forward to hearing about the numerous adventures the authors had while traveling to research this book.”
About the Authors
Patricia Harris and David Lyon are authors of more than 30 books on travel, food, and art including the Art of the Statevolumes on New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut for Harry N. Abrams. Harris previously directed funding programs in several disciplines for the Massachusetts Council on the Arts & Humanities, the predecessor to the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Lyon was one of the founders of Lynx House Press. They live in Cambridge, not far from the Longfellow House. For more information, see HungryTravelers.com.
Chesterwood, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is the former summer home, studio and gardens of America’s foremost sculptor of public monuments, Daniel Chester French (1850-1931). French is best known for his sculptures of the Minute Man (1871-75) and the seated figure of Abraham Lincoln (1911-22) for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Situated on 122 acres in the idyllic hamlet of Glendale near Stockbridge, Mass., the property and its buildings were donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation by French’s only child Margaret French Cresson (1889-1973). Chesterwood is recognized as both a National Historic Landmark and a Massachusetts Historic Landmark. Chesterwood serves as the administrative home for Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. chesterwood.org. 413-298-3579.
About Historic Artists’ Homes And Studios (HAHS)
HAHS is a professional network comprised of 40 preserved artists’ homes and studios throughout the country, now open as public sites. HAHS sites reflect the breadth and depth of art history in the United States – almost all representing art production before 1980. Members include sites dedicated to iconic American painters and sculptors, such as Frederic Church, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and Jackson Pollock, as well as those drawing public attention to lesser-known artists such as Clementine Hunter and T.C. Steele. Holistic artistic environments in natural settings such as those created by Georgia O’Keeffe at Abiquiu are represented in the network, as are several important artists’ colonies such as The Florence Griswold home that served as creative hubs during their respective eras. HAHS sites own/display, and preserve/maintain for exhibition, significant artwork created by the artist(s) that lived there, and by their artist colleagues/predecessors, enabling connections between art and place. Collectively, HAHS sites draw more than 600,000 visitors annually to learn about the legacy of American Art. artistshomes.org
About the National Trust for Historic Preservation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places. SavingPlaces.org
Photos: Courtesy Patricia Harris and David Lyon
Saturday, Sept. 15: Lecture and book signing with Patricia Harris and David Lyon, authors of Historic New England: A Tour of the Region's Top 100 National Landmarks. Chesterwood, 4 Williamsville Rd., Stockbridge. Light refreshments will be served. Seating is limited. Preregistration is recommended at email@example.com or 413-298-3579, x. 2033. Free. 2 to 4 p.m.