Book of the Week #32

A Place of Beauty: The Artists and Gardens of the Cornish Colony by Alma M. Gilbert & Judith B. Tankard (Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 2000).

"At the beginning of the twentieth century, the artists' colony in Cornish, New Hampshire, was considered one of the most beautifully landscaped villages in America. The lush, rolling hills and fairy-tale scenery drew some of the nation's most gifted artists, including sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, illustrator Maxfield Parrish, and architect Charles Platt. These artists, inspired by the colony's pastoral beauty, quickly became renowned as much for the idyllic gardens they created as for their works of art. The artists regarded their gardens as bowers of leisure and tranquility, and each was infused with the unique personality and nurturing, painterly eye of its creator.
In A Place of Beauty, art historian Alma M. Gilbert and garden historian Judith B. Tankard pay homage to this celebrated locale, with profiles both of the artists who lived there and the imaginative gardens they designed. In part one, Gilbert sets the stage with a brief history of the colony, replete with archival photography of the resident artists and their families and with full-color reproductions  of the artwork the Cornish landscape inspired. In part two, Tankard offers engaging, scholarly portraits of twelve "places of beauty," individual gardens created by the colony's most notable artists. This enchanting volume offers an intimate, historical portrait of the colony, its breathtaking natural beauty, and the artistic achievements that flourished there -- achievements whose rewards we continue to reap." (publisher's description)
This is a beautiful book and provides an excellent introduction to the Cornish Art Colony. Co-author Alma Gilbert is a resident of Plainfield, NH and is considered one of the foremost authorities on the work of Maxfield Parrish. A recent gift to the NH State Library from Alma Gilbert-Smith & Peter Smith of paintings and sculputre from the Cornish Art Colony will be featured in an exhibit at the State Library beginning on August 15, 2012. The exhibit will run through mid-September and over the next few weeks I will be featuring books-of-the-week related to the Cornish Colony artists.

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