Art in the Goodwin Mansion
Every room in the Goodwin Mansion has at least one piece of artwork, some of which descended in the family.
Upstairs in the formal parlor chamber, Gov. Goodwin’s bedroom hangs a scene painted by Tomaso De Simone (1995.23). The oil painting depicts a three-masted steamship at anchor in Naples Harbor flying the American flag. The scene shows two mountains, one a smoking volcano and likely Mt. Vesuvius. The pink sky indicates it is either sunrise or sunset. De Simone, an Italian artist born in 1805, is known for harbor paintings. This painting was owned by the Goodwin’s and perhaps hung in this room before.
Downstairs in the family parlor is a more dramatic ship scene. The “Ship Levi Woodbury of New Orleans” (2002.39) depicts the ship in very rough seas, painted in oil about 1850. The Levi Woodbury has lowered sails and seems to be hanging on unlike the two-masted ship on her stern which has torn sails and is heeled over. The man for whom the ship is named for was a New Hampshire native who went on to serve in all three branches of the federal government, as a US Senator, in a number of cabinet positions, including Secretary of the Navy and finally as a Justice of the Supreme Court. Woodbury was also Governor of New Hampshire from 1823-1824. The painting is attributed to American artist James Guy Evans.
Above the sideboard in the dining room hangs a still life (1974.661) featuring a marble board laden with fruit (pictured above). Strawberries in a bowl and a lemon cut in half provide texture and grapevines wind around pears, plums, and blackberries. A single glass of wine is positioned to the left of the fruits. This painting is attributed to artist Severin Roesen, who today is considered a leading nineteenth-century still-life artist. The German-born artist began his career as a porcelain painter in his native land before immigrating to New York in 1848. This painting contains all of his signature elements, including the vines, strawberries, and the glass of wine, which always appears in the lower-left portion of his canvases. The still life was probably painted while the artist was in New York, circa 1850.
Included in the Goodwin art collection are portraits of Governor Ichabod Goodwin (1988.173) and Sarah Parker Rice Goodwin (1991.168) (pictured below. The governor, who looks to be in his later years, is seated wearing a black suit coat and vest, with a white high collared shirt, black stock, and stick pin. The painting is framed in an ornate gilt frame with a gilt oval mat. The artist of this portrait is unknown. The artist who painted Mrs. Goodwin, however, is likely Joseph Greenleaf Cole (1806-1858.) Greenleaf Cole is a well known New England artist who painted portraits of many Portsmouth residents. Mrs. Goodwin, as a young woman, is wearing a black dress with a square neckline edged with narrow white lace with a blue and red shawl draped over one shoulder and around the elbow of the opposite arm. She is seated on a red upholstered sofa. These portraits hang in the formal and family parlors of the mansion, respectively.