Thursday, September 01, 2016

End of Summer Visit to Cogswell's Grant

It is hard to believe it is September 1st and the Labor Day Holiday is this weekend. Last week, Julia and I headed off to Newburyport to sneak a couple days of vacation in before school began again. We had a great time visiting our friends Rose Ann, Kristin and Leslie. Newburyport is on the north shore of Boston. It is a very old town that is very beautiful. It is loaded with amazing big and small very old houses. The downtown area is vibrant and full of life. 

One day, Julia and I headed off to Cogswell's Grant. I had heard about this historic home years ago and have been meaning to visit it. It is owned by Historic New England (formerly SPNEA). The home was built in 1728 and is the former home of Nina and Bertram Little who were early collectors of Early American Folk Art. 

First off - you just have to love the color of the house - Pumpkin Orange! It is so distinctive, isn't it? 

The Littles collected Early American Antiques when there was a large supply available - not like now when it is really difficult to find and afford old things. The home is filled with pottery, furniture, primitive folk art paintings, textiles, and more. It is arranged as they lived with their things. The home is a bit crowded and dark but it is a great place full of visual delights. It was their summer home and is not winterized. There is no air conditioning (and it was hot). I do not know if it is handi-capped accessible - I tend to doubt it because the stairs are very steep and they have kept the place as it was in the 1800's. There is a big beautiful barn that houses the welcome center and tells the long story of the property and all the inhabitants before the Littles. The site can also be rented for weddings and special events.

I found this photo of Nina and Bertram on the Historic New England website

I asked if I could take photos inside the home when I arrived. The guide said that it would be okay without a flash. She also said that it took a winter's worth of conversation to decide that photographs would now be allowed inside the house. I told her that it was a good thing they have joined the 21st century as more people will be aware of their museum and Historic New England via the internet. Although these photos are less than stellar they will give you an idea of the home and the collection. I hope they might serve as inspiration for you all as they are for me. Here is a sideboard full of incredible old pottery pieces. 

I loved this old sideboard with painted decoration. 

Isn't this woman pretty? 

Here are a selection of the needlework pieces I found inspiring:

Embroidered pictures
Hooked bedcover!
Hooked spotted cat rug at Cogswell's Grant. The paws are huge. 

Part of the border of the hooked cat rug
These three photos are details of an embroidered bedcover that came from Italy, New York. I loved the motifs. 

A pinchusion
A hooked rug serving as a mat on a chest. Love the different heights.
Another rug which we had to step gingerly around.
A needlepoint cushion featuring dogs and flora
The Littles had a huge collection of wooden boxes. Here is a pretty one. 

I loved these hat boxes covered with wallpaper. 

I am crazy over the painted decoration on this old blanket chest. 

These photos are from Nina's tiny study where she wrote her books on a typewriter. I loved the wallpaper. 

Nina Little wrote several books on antiques that are still available. Little by Little is her story about how they built their collection. This is a good article about both of them and their contributions to collecting Early American art antiques. 

If you ever get to the North Shore of Boston during the summer, I highly recommend a trip to Cogswell's Grant in Essex, Massachusetts. The town is also full of many good antique shops. 

Poor Julia -- getting dragged to another historic house on summer vacation. She was a good sport and after we continued on to Rockport to visit with our friend Leslie who some of you might know from sheep and knitting festivals. 

I hope you all enjoy the upcoming holiday weekend if you are in North America. So hard to believe summer is almost over. 


Susanne said...

Glad you enjoyed your break...remember, Labour Day is a holiday that BOTH the US and Canada celebrate!

Lisbeth said...

I love historic houses from the 17th and 18th century. Thank you for the lovely photos! I haven't been to Cogswell's Grant and will definitely fit it in the next time I am near there. I particularly love all the embroidery.

Auntie Shan said...

I'm amazed at how well the textiles have held up "in the open"! I'm glad that it's all been preserved! Book references are one thing, but to actually *see* stuff like this, is "priceless" on so many levels!
Love the wooden boxes and those little houses and the needlepoints...
You must have been drooling over the great pottery! ;-}

Anyhoo, THANK YOU for the "tour"! - Hope you all have a FUN Weekend!!

ellen kirkendall said...

I'll be watching with interest to see how you use this inspiration.

Pam in Santa Fe said...

Ooh. Thanks for the tour of Cogswell's Grant. Have you been to see Beaufort outside Gouchester? Another home of an eccentric collector. I see that house in my dreams

Blanca Grunbaum said...

Hi Kristin. I really enjoyed the tour in the historic house on your post. Thanks for sharing it. I like very much take a look at your blog often but never before comment. Now I would like to tell you that your arts and knitting are beautiful. Sincerely...Blanca

Anonymous said...

The border on the cat rug is so beautiful and that is one U G L Y cat. Thanks for the photo tour. The pottery is wonderful.