Unveiling at the House of the Seven Gables Portrait of NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE
Unveiling the new portrait at the House of the Seven Gables with Executive Director Anita Blackaby, Tom greeted attendees and signed first edition prints.
Nathaniel Hawthorne and his new bride Sophia Peabody have just arrived at Concord, Massachusetts at the Old Manse. This is the setting for the latest in a series of paintings about the great American author from historic Salem. Above are several rough studies competed as steps toward developing a realistic composition for the dual portrait. While these give some idea of what the final piece looks like, they are very sketchy. The completed painting is unique in that no other painting of Nathaniel & Sophia together exists.
Research into the July 9, 1842 wedding revealed the newlyweds arrived by carriage around 5:00 PM after a diamond shower and drenching rain to find the Old Manse decorated with wildflowers. Concord neighbors had placed flowers on stands made from the roots of trees in the house to welcome them. Nathaniel and Sophia were married earlier in the day at Elizabeth Peabody's bookstore in Boston. The seven-mile trip began a life-long marriage of deep devotion by the romance author and his artistic wife. The finished original painting was unveiled at 7:00 PM on July 4, 2010 at Salem. Prints are available at the historic House of the Seven Gables gift shop on Turner Street in Salem, Massachusetts.
Also pictured above are three studies for future paintings about Salem. The triple portrait of Elizabeth, Mary & Sophia Peabody show the Peabody Sisters as young women when their family lived on Charter Street. The latest sketch of Nathaniel & Sophia Hawthorne place them in front of their last home in Salem where he wrote the Scarlet Letter. The last thumbnail sketch gives you an idea of how the artist plans to paint the historic Derby Wharf near the Custom House where Hawthorne served as Surveyor/Measurer of the port of Salem.
Tom Brennan's series of paintings about historic Salem, Massachusetts has been growing. This New England seaside community steeped in cultural heritage is extraordinarily rich in possible artistic themes. The first painting completed was a scene from the 1860's on Turner Street. In this painting of the HOUSE of the SEVEN GABLES, author Nathaniel Hawthorne is depicted with two friends: his publishers James Fields and William Ticknor. Hawthorne, the "Great Romancer," seems eerily alone with his friends in this literary setting.
Other pieces in the series include the CUSTOM HOUSE, KOSCIUSKO WALL, and DERBY WHARF LIGHTHOUSE. The two seascapes evoke Salem's maritime preeminence. In addition to the four pieces shown, plans call for three more works: The SALEM COMMON, the WILLOWS, and AT THE MUSEUM. The realistic painterly style of the artist was influenced as a youth immersed in Salem's art, architecture and historic heritage.
Tom Brennan PAINTINGS & PORTRAITS ROBBINSTON, MAINE 04671 USA