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From the Collections Vault: Frederic’s Currier & Ives Murals and Bothways Farm sign

From the Collections Vault: Accession Numbers 1998.FB.182,183,185,188,205; 2023.DA.001; 2004.B.022: Frederic’s Currier & Ives Murals and Bothways Farm sign

Happy upcoming holidays! This year we will be featuring a mini exhibit in the gallery of Frederic’s interpretations of a few Currier & Ives paintings that have been in our vault for some time. Three large murals and two smaller pieces will be featured along with an original Bothways Farm sign and Currier & Ives Catalogue Raisonne with a personal note from the publisher to Evelyn.

Currier & Ives was a printmaking business based in New York from the years 1834-1907. Their hand-colored lithographs were a staple in virtually every Victorian home in the United States. Their art became synonymous with Americana and the holidays in modern times, thanks especially to the 1948 holiday song “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson.

About the Bothways Farm and murals:

Over the years, the Bartletts acquired two properties in Massachusetts. Frederic and his second wife, Helen Birch, purchased a more formal summer estate they donned “Whitehall” in Beverly in 1925. In 1938, Evelyn purchased a 114-acre farm in Essex which her and Frederic named “Bothways Farm” as there were “two ways to get to Bothways”.

The farm produced meat, eggs, cream, butter, and milk that were then flown to Bonnet House for consumption during their winter getaway. The property included a hunting lodge, chapel, and picnic house. The picnic house already existed when the Bartletts moved in; at that time it was just a little cabin. It had been built for the former owner’s grandchildren to spend the night in. The screened-in porch, four columns, and decorative work were designed and added by Frederic Bartlett. This building is sometimes referred to as the “Currier & Ives Building” because Frederic painted the interior walls with reproductions of Currier & Ives prints as part of the celebrations for a 1946 party he had for Evelyn. Bothways is still an active farm today, though the picnic house no longer exists.

The murals on display, as well as five others in collections storage, were removed from interior walls in 1997 at bequest of Evelyn after her death. The photos you see are of the murals as they were in the picnic house, as well as the little house itself with Frederic and Evelyn in front of it. Come see our new winter mini exhibit and learn more about each piece for a limited time, from November 21st through March 31st, 2024.

Interesting links:
Bothways blog posts from “Good Morning Gloucester” website:
Currier & Ives information, timeline, prints list, and FAQ, from the American Historical Print Collectors Society:

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