Rare Photography Exhibit to be held June 24-July 29
Color & Light: Early 20th Century Portraits of Hearthside
The beauty of Hearthside was captured 100 years ago in a new photographic process known as "hand-colored photography." Fifty photographs by nationally-renowned photographer David Davidson and Rufus Waterman, a lesser known photographer who emulated Davidson's work, have recently been discovered in their original pristine condition. These photographs give us a sense of this place called "Hearthside."
Friends of Hearthside proudly announces the opening of a major exhibit featuring these extraordinary artworks, displayed in the same locations in which they were taken between 1907 and 1912. For the first time, we are getting a glimpse of what the rooms in this home looked like. There are several exterior shots as well. Both of the photographers' wives are featured in the pictures, outfitted in Colonial costume. In several photos, the Talbots themselves are modeling, also in Colonial attire. The display also includes Davidson's original box style camera and artifacts from his Providence studio, and even the shawl worn in many of the photographs.
The exhibit opens Sunday, June 24th from 1-4 p.m. and thereafter will be open every weekend through July 29th. Visitors may take a self-guided tour through the house where the photographs are distributed throughout every room. The attic space is also open with the new exhibit of the original Talbot looms in place and weaving and spinning demonstrations taking place. This exhibit is truly a unique blend of art and history.
Admission for this special exhibit is $10/adult and $8/ages for children ages 9-17; children 8 and under FREE! Children may even try their hand at hand-colored photography too, with water colors and copies of some of Davidson's black and white photographs. Some original Davidson framed and signed photographs are being offered for sale in the Hearthside Gift Shop along with reproductions.
Davidson graduated from Brown University in 1905, and shortly afterward started his business, the David Davidson Studios, which operated in Providence until 1955. During that time, he became one of the top selling photographers of hand-colored pictures in the country. His photographs sold in department stores around the United States, and in Providence, the Shepard Department Store had a whole room devoted to his works. He expanded beyond framed photographs to greeting cards, calendars and puzzles as well. The exhibit has examples of those products and many other pictures that he took outside of Rhode Island.
Davidson was awarded the Bronze Award by the Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915 for the quality of his hand-colored photographs. During World War I, Davidson began to produce motion pictures and was the producer of Rhode Island Weekly, a newsreel that became a regular feature at local movie theaters during the war. He also documented Rhode Island activities during the war.
Rufus Waterman spent his early years in Providence, but then went away to school in Concord, New Hampshire. His interest in photography started early at the age of 14. After graduation, he worked at the family's textile mill, the Slaters Mill in Slatersville, RI. But when the mills closed, he went back to St. Paul's School in NH to teach where he remained until 1928. But, he visited Rhode Island often during that time, which is when he photographed Hearthside and the Talbots. Records show that he was commissioned to do some photograph, although it was not his profession. Waterman was described as being painfully shy and not wanting any recognition for his achievements.
Rufus Waterman's ancestry includes some of Rhode Island's earliest and most notable families: the Allen, Angell, Greene, Slater, and Waterman families as well as Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island. Interestingly, Rufus Waterman and Arnold Talbot were cousins at least three different times through the Angell, Arnold and Greene families.
Through the Color & Light exhibit, the Friends of Hearthside is able to interpret an important period in the history of this beautiful home.
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