ST. JOHN'S CHURCH
A watercolor depicting an 1874 Portsmouth skyline, probably by artist Fidelia Bridges
When searching the Strawbery Banke Online Collections, users will come across this watercolor image of the Portsmouth skyline from the Piscataqua River. This painting (2014.43), possibly created by Fidelia Bridges (1834 – 1923), a native of Salem, MA -- and suggestive of her style -- is dated June 5, 1874. Recognizable buildings include St. John’s Church and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Gundalows and other masted ships are reflected in the calm water. View this painting in person in the "Port of Portsmouth: War Trade and Travel" exhibit in the Montrone Gallery in Thales-Yeaton House when the museum reopens!
Bridges is best known for her depictions of nature – wildflowers, birds, and landscapes. In 1874, she became the first woman to join what is now the American Watercolor Society. Louis Prang printed thousands of greeting cards featuring Bridges' watercolors, and her work was collected by Mark Twain and is now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Smithsonian.
Fidelia Bridges' watercolor of the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion (L2017.6), painted on June 6, 1874, just one day after her view of St. John's, remains in a private collection. Though there is no documentation of Bridges' visit to Portsmouth in 1874, it’s certainly possible that she was in the same friend group as fellow Piscataqua Region artists Celia Thaxter, Sarah Orne Jewett, and, Atlantic Monthly editor James T. Fields.
E. Farish 3/24/2020
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2022 Historic House Season
Open daily through October 31, 2022, 10 AM - 5 PM
Tour historic houses on original sites, meet engaging costumed roleplayers, watch traditional crafts demonstrations, explore historical gardens, and experience engaging exhibits like "Water Has a Memory."
Vintage & Vine Online Auction
September 2-25, 2022
Browse, bid on, and buy unique items and experiences in the Vintage & Vine Online Auction. Whether shopping for yourself or getting a head start on the holidays, you'll find something for everyone, including great escapes, health & fitness packages, food & beverage, and so much more.
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Ghosts on the Banke - A Family-Friendly Halloween Event
October 28 & 29, 2022, 5:30-8 PM
Trick-or-treat safely outdoors from house to historic house. Meet wayward pirates and a mysterious fortune-teller, listen to ghostly tales, construct a giant spider web, dance to spooky musical tunes, and play games for prizes. Public ticket sales begin on Monday, September 26, 2022, at 10 AM.
Saturday, November 5, 2022, 10 AM-5 PM
Dawnland StoryFest is hosted by Strawbery Banke in connection with the Museum's permanent "People of the Dawnland" exhibit. This daylong event, held in the Visitors Center, features storytelling "concerts" or performances by five experienced Indigenous storytellers as well as a keynote address. Free to attend with a suggested donation of $10.