The Warner House at 300!

Warner-House-300th-logo150An exhibition of a National Historic Landmark

Opening Art ‘Round Town Friday, June 3 – Friday, September 2, 2016

At Discover Portsmouth, 10 Middle St., Portsmouth, NH
Hours: Daily 9:30am-5pm, open until 8pm each Friday for the summer
Portsmouth Historical Society in partnership with The Warner House presents…

Portsmouth’s 300-year old Warner House is the focus of a Portsmouth Historical Society summer exhibition on the second floor of Discover Portsmouth, 10 Middle Street in downtown Portsmouth. Discover Portsmouth is free and open to the public; a suggested donation of $5 helps support the organization. The exhibition, in partnership with the Warner House, will open during Art ‘Round Town Friday evening June 3 5-8pm, coincidentally the last day of the Illuminating Tarbell exhibition in the organization’s Academy Gallery, and will close Friday night September 2, 2016.

Artifacts from this rare urban mansion, begun in 1716 at the corner of Chapel and Daniel Streets, represent the six generations of one family that owned it until 1932, combined with works of art the landmark house has inspired. From before the Civil War to the present day, artists have been drawn to the evocative old landmark. Curators Robert Chase and Richard Candee have written an article about those artists in “Celebrating 300 Years of the Warner House in Art,” for the 2016 Art Guide to South Coast Maine and Seacoast New Hampshire, published by Phineas Press. The exhibition includes many historic paintings, prints, and sculptures alongside select objects from the house used by its generations of occupants, before being opened to the public as a house museum.

The curators are thrilled to be showing some of the many wonders of the Warner House – from the Native Americans in its famous original murals to souvenirs of the landmark – during this its three hundredth birthday. According to Chase, “One of our most fascinating discoveries is a near life-size portrait by local artist H.M.S. Harlow of Benjamin Franklin standing in front of his 1760s lightning rod on Warner House. Painted in 1937, the portrait barely survived a 1983 fire at New Franklin School. It still needs serious painting conservation, but demonstrates one of the many ways this ancient brick house has been shown off by our local artists.”

About the curators

Richard M. Candee is Professor Emeritus of American & New England Studies at Boston University, Past President of the Portsmouth Historical Society and a former chair of the Warner House Association. Robert Chase, a museum-trained art collector and dealer who organized several recent Portsmouth Historical Society exhibitions, is a member of the Warner House 300th Celebration Committee.

Warner HouseAbout the Warner House

In 1716, Archibald Macphaedris employed master-joiner John Drew, newly arrived from England, to construct an elegant brick home on the model of recent London merchant houses.  Today a National Historic Landmark, the house is the earliest and last surviving American brick urban mansion of the early 18th century. Like most historic homes named after male owners, the Warner House refers to a later occupant, the merchant Jonathan Warner. But the house was actually inherited by his wife, the daughter of Archibald Macpheadris who had married Sarah Wentworth when the house was being completed in 1718. Indeed, the property came down through the female family line for six generations. After Jonathan Warner died, the house eventually went to his niece Elizabeth Sherburne. Here she lived with her son and grandchildren and their families throughout the mid-19th century — a close knit clan of Sherburne, Penhallow, and Whipple cousins.  As their children grew up and moved away, the house became a summer home and a “landmark of historical interest.” It was saved from being razed for a gas station during the Great Depression in 1932 and recognized as a National Historic Landmark for its architecture almost 30 years later. For more information, including schedule, directions and admission, please visit

Season Sponsors: Brown & Company Design    ||    Devine Marketing Group

Exhibition Partners

The Warner House Association

Portsmouth Historical Society

For further information on exhibitions, publications, museum shop, lectures, rentals, and tours, please call 603-436-8433.

Hours: Daily 9:30am-5pm, until 8pm each Friday for the summer

Links to Published Articles

Art New England: Three Centuries of Art and History at the Warner House