H.M.S. Harlow’s Old Portsmouth

Harlow Old Portsmouth

Wednesday, September 6 – Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Organized by Dr. Gerry Ward, Adam Brooks, and Lainey McCartney

Discover Portsmouth presents an exhibition on the work of H.M​.S. Harlow, colonial revival artist of Portsmouth.

In the 1930s and 1940s, a retired commercial artist named H.M.S. Harlow (1881-1963) painted many views of Portsmouth’s colonial and early federal period architecture, including a series of small depictions of the “Doorways of Old Portsmouth.” His images of these houses and doorways are often architecturally correct but are also infused with a touch of the romantic colonial revival mode, as when he incorporates a charming figure in period dress standing before a door. Many of Harlow’s images were painted from life, using his traveling stool, easel, and umbrella on display in the gallery. For buildings which had been lost earlier, he was forced to rely on photographs, written descriptions, and other types of documentation. The Portsmouth Historical Society owns a large collection of works by Harlow, many of which are on view in the gallery, providing a glimpse into the past and present of Portsmouth’s outstanding early architecture.