Lilla Cabot Perry
The Silver Vase
Isn’t she a beauty? I searched for paintings by this artist when I learned she had a summer home in Hancock, New Hampshire. There is also a small portrait of a child Perry painted on display at the Hancock Town Library which is captivating. I had to see more, so I searched for Perry’s works and found this one, The Silver Vase. Dressed in the colors of winter, I thought she was a fitting symbol of this January day.
Making this post led me to do a bit more research on Perry and what I found was delightful:
- She had no formal art training until the age of 36
- Though she was born in Boston, Massachusetts her family traveled widely and lived in various places around the globe, including Paris, Munich, and Japan which really influenced her painting styles and subjects through the years.
- She saw a Claude Monet painting at age 41 (in 1889) and so admired it that her family rented a house in Giverny, France (where Monet resided) for 9 summers. Monet became her close friend and mentor – imagine!!
- Monet encouraged Perry to “commit her first impression of a scene to canvas rather than to sketchbook” (Encyclopedia Britannica) – what a gorgeous thought.
- Her later paintings are inspired by the landscapes around her summer home in Hancock, New Hampshire where she died and was laid to rest.
I found the bulleted information above on the National Museum of Women in the Arts website and the Encyclopedia Britannica website. What a fascinating woman! And how cool she had such a connection to Hancock, New Hampshire.
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Here are some photographs of Hancock, a gorgeous little New England Village tucked away in Southwestern New Hampshire. I was fortunate enough to work as the Children’s Librarian there for one year, so I enjoyed Hancock through each season.
Flowers sprouting up around town. Budding trees in front of the Hancock Inn. Apple trees with new leaves in the orchard on Norway Hill. Irises on Main Street. Trees in bloom in front of the Hancock Town Library. Lilac bushes in front of a colonial house.
My most favorite view off of Old Dublin Road. Flowers at the farmer’s market in the old circular stables. A place of sanctuary at the Harris Center. Giant bubbles from a performance I planned at the end of summer reading. Scenes from the Tour Hancock Gardens summer garden tour. A walk down the dirt sidewalks of Main Street. Storm clouds approaching Nubanusit Lake. Walking Old Dublin Road. The Elliot’s amazing private garden.
Golden trees on Main Street. Ivy growing up an old colonial house. Norway Pond stillness. Main Street littered with leaves. A walk on an old dirt road. Kayaking on Willard Pond close to sunset. The historic Hancock Inn. The fall colors starting to appear at the apple orchard on Norway Hill.
A snow storm in February blankets an old colonial home. Lilies brighten up the winter day inside Fiddleheads Cafe. The huge tree outside of the library covered in snow. The Hancock Inn and it’s Fox tavern is a cozy place for a winter’s evening meal. Frost patterns inside the library’s windows.
No matter what season you visit Hancock, it is always going to be beautiful.
Nestled deep in beautiful Hancock, New Hampshire, the Harris Center for Conservation Education is the perfect place to take a walk. The grounds are open to the public and they welcome leashed dogs as well. I happened to be there a couple of weeks ago for an appreciation luncheon that the Hancock Town Library was putting on for it’s staff and volunteers. After a delicious meal and an educational and amusing lecture by one of the Center’s senior Naturalists, the guests funneled out to the parking lot but I just wasn’t ready to leave. The sun was finally out after a cloudy morning and the beautiful grounds of the Harris Center were calling to me…
I don’t know very much about the history of the house itself other than that it was a grand country summer estate in times past. The historical details on the property abound, from the built in stone benches tucked away under massive wisteria and grape vines to the diagonally latticed windows which make me feel like I’ve stepped into the English countryside. The stone work has just settled into the landscape as if it has always been there. And though I went there towards the end of September, the flower gardens were still filled with colorful blooms, especially the pollinators garden, which was mindfully planted with the appetite of native species of bees and butterflies in mind. The pollinators garden was humming with life as I carefully wound along the globe thistle, butterfly bushes, and coneflower. The garden was planted in the property’s former swimming pool- what a good repurposing idea! Planting flowers is always a good choice.
Because I was alone, I stuck to the grounds and did not venture out into the surrounding woods. They do have a vast trail system however, and one day I would like to explore all of them. Check out their list of trails here, on their website. But I was more than happy to stick to the grounds and spent well over an hour meandering about. They’ve kept most of the surrounding grassy areas as natural meadow except for pleasant mown paths which lead around the entire property in a large circle. On the far edge near the road, I found a patch of giant sunflowers, just about gone by. I will have to remember it’s there next year and visit just a couple weeks earlier so I can see them in their glory.
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So if you’re ever looking for a quiet, beautiful place to spend a bit of time look no further than the Harris Center in Hancock, NH. I could have sat on the old stone bench eating grapes from the vines over my head for hours (if the bench wasn’t covered in squashed grapes that is haha) I did sneak a few grapes 🙂