On the Walls at Ormsby Hill

Hi Everyone,
What makes a stay in Bed & Breakfast unique is that every B&B is decorated with a touch of the owner’s collection. Some inns have an impressive collection of original antique furniture and art collection, but for the most part, you’ll find some sort of accumulation of things that seem to reflect the owner’s life.

We have moved 18 times during our 34 years of marriage and moved across the Pacific Ocean 8 times. Every time we moved, we cleaned out things to lighten the load, but certain pieces stayed with us and survived the ocean liner container. They are not a collection of fine art or antique furniture, but our memories on the wall.
In the first living room of Ormsby Hill, we have,

Katsunori Hamanishi Japanese Print
Born in 1949, Hamanishi is one of a group of Japanese artists who have explored the rich, dark, three-dimensional effects achievable with the old European mezzotint techniques. His early subjects – twigs, branches, rice stalks, rope – are presented in a three-dimensional form on paper. We have several pieces of Hamanishi’s work which we picked up in Tokyo between 1999 and 2004. Diane says that the branches and rope reminded her of Jesse (our son) playing in our backyard in Pennsylvania, trying to make a bow and arrow, which always ended up with an inevitable break.
Japanese Woodblock Print by Kuniyoshi
Utagawa Kuniyoshi (January 1, 1797 – April 14, 1861) was one of the last great masters of the Japanese ukiyo-e style of woodblock printing. The range of Kuniyoshi’s subjects included many genres: landscapes, beautiful women, Kabuki actors, cats and mythical animals. Highly collectible now, Kabuki actor ukiyo-e prints were originally used as fliers for the Kabuki theater back in 1800s. We purchased this piece in 1984 when we lived on Kotto Dori (Antique Street) in the Aoyama district of Tokyo.

Painting from Jesse’s High School Art Class
We don’t know if Jesse was intentionally trying to make a black and white drawing that had a Japanese flavor, but it sure looks like one. When I found this piece in the portfolio bag hidden behind the bookcase, I realized that I had not seen a single piece of art he did in Mamaroneck High School before he graduated in 2000. It was a shocking realization that I practically missed 4 years of his life when I was flying back and forth between JFK and Hong Kong every six weeks, playing the life of an international executive. Hopefully he got an “A” on this one.
Photograph from Kelly’s Africa Trip
Kelly (our daughter) took many photos in Africa during her three week volunteer at a private elementary school in Ghana in 2009. There must have been a late afternoon down pour, which formed the golden puddles on the dirt road. Still strong light of the African sunset have blackened the roadside forest to the background, leaving only the rich brown reflection on the momentary water surface. Kelly always had good eyes and sense of beauty that transcends what is obviously there.

Hand Colored Photographs from Uncle George’s House
There are two hand colored photographs on the western wall of the first living room at Ormsby Hill. One on the left is titled “Juliet Escaping” and pencil-signed by David Davidson. According to Heathside (http://www.hearthsidehouse.org), He was considered to be one of the top two national leaders in hand colored photography, second only to Wallace Nutting, in the early 20th century. Davidson met Nutting at Brown University and learned this fine art from him. Most of the photographs are around Rhode Island and he founded the Davidson Photographic Studio in Providence, R.I. His photographs were so popular that hardly a New England wedding occurred where the bride did not receive at least one Davidson picture as a wedding gift. Interest in hand colored photographs ended in early 1940s.
The other hand colored photograph is titled “Echo Lake Franconia Notch” by Charles H. Sawyer. This appears to be one of the later images of the 1920s -1930s which is ink-signed and titled in an elegant script. It contains a label on the back, which says “The Sawyer Pictures, 55 Pleasant Street, Concord, New Hampshire”, where he had a studio. Both of these pieces ended up with us via Diane’s mother. Uncle George was a chiropractor, never got married, and quite a collector of arts and beautiful things.

There are a few more pieces in the gathering room and each object has a story behind it. We are not the American Pickers, but do ask us about any piece that piques your interest. We’ll love to tell you about it.

Also in the gathering room is some loaned art from 3 Pears Gallery and Jud Hartmann Gallery. I thank Gigi Begin for letting me use her exquisite painting of pig titled “Lard Sale” for the heading of this newsletter. Let me also tell you….. Well, Diane is calling me for dinner. We’ll catch up next time you are at the inn.
In pursuit of the best framed memories…

Yoshio

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