It’s that time again! Join us at Portsmouth Historical Society as we celebrate this sweet season with the 31st Annual Gingerbread House Contest and Exhibition from November 26 through December 22 at the Portsmouth Historical Society’s Discover Portsmouth Welcome Center. Once again, everyone is getting a little sugar as we take the contestant creations to downtown shop windows!
This year’s theme is our favorite New Hampshire things to go along with our photography exhibition, “NH Now: A Photographic Diary of Life in the Granite State.” So many of you took up the challenge! From your favorite landmarks to your favorite meal, the creative ways in which New Hampshire is represented in cookies and candy is just amazing!
There were so many amazing entries this year that we do not envy the judges’ job at deciding who was the best. We are so grateful to these folks for their hard work!
Built in 1913-14 by industrialist Thomas Plant and his wife Olive, Castle in the Clouds is an Arts and Crafts mansion in the Ossippee Mountains near Moultonborough, NH. Restored and cared for by the Castle Preservation Society, it is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is open to the public.
At the mouth of the Piscataqua River in Kittery Point, Maine, the Wood Island Life Saving Station has stood watch for 112 years. It housed brave “surfmen” that were part of the US Life Saving Service (a forerunner of the US Coast Guard) who would wait with small rowing boats to go out to help mariners in distress in terrible conditions year-round. The Wood Island Life Saving Station Association (WILSSA) formed in 2011 to oppose the station’s demolition and to raise all of the funds and find expertise to undertake a historically accurate restoration.
The multi-generational category, with adults, teens, and children working together, is always full of imagination!
Edward Francis Searles hired architect Henry Vaughan to design Searles Castle. It is built of cut granite, fieldstone, and dark red sandstone, most of which came from Searles’ own quarries in Pelham, New Hampshire. Completed in 1915, the castle consists of an entrance, a reception hall, a foyer, a dining room, a music room, a sun porch, a library, a grand stairway, a second-floor guest suite, a third-floor guest suite, a second-floor rotunda (or balcony), servants’ rooms, a kitchen, a butler’s pantry, butlers’ rooms, and a master bedroom suite which consists of a master bedroom, a sitting room, a bathroom, and a sunroom. Examples of the fine workmanship are found in the carved oak balcony and the marble fireplaces.
The goal for our 12-and-under category is always to have fun, and these winners certainly had a good time at Story Land and on their summer vacation!
Business or Organization Category
Judges’ Best in Show
Unsurprisingly, we have a TIE for Best in Show as well! AND! you can get a raffle ticket for just $1 and take one of these houses home for a holiday centerpiece!
People’s Choice Awards
Your voice has been heard! Here are this year’s People’s Choice winners!
Most Attention to Detail
Most Creative Building Materials
People’s Best in Show
There are four fabulous houses up for grabs in our raffle! Get a ticket for $1 and you could take one of these houses home for a holiday centerpiece!
Downtown Scavenger Hunt
Pick up a stamp sheet at the Discover Portsmouth Welcome Center, at one of our downtown retail partner locations, or download here!
Visit each of the locations and get a stamp!
Collect 15 of 18 stamps and submit your sheet for a chance to win a prize from one of our partners!
In five highly individual styles, “Abstracting the Seacoast” evokes the smell of the salt marsh, the call of seagulls, and the crash of the waves along the coast. It brings to mind the bustle of the docks loading and unloading, while the ubiquitous Moran tugboats chug down the river. Historic Portsmouth, with its venerable red brick buildings, narrow side alleys, and bright, busy Market Square dissolves into the softer natural world of silver pocket beaches and deep pine and birch woods. All these impressions have been incorporated into this inspiring exhibition by these artists.
Barbara Stevens Adams began her art involvement while practicing as a psychotherapist in New Haven, Connecticut. Following her move to New Hampshire in 1990 she continued to pursue her art explorations which now have taker her to her current passion with oils and soft pastels. Barbara is a founding member and the past president of the Pastel Society of New Hampshire, a juried member of the New Hampshire Art Association, a Signature Member of the Pastel Painters of Maine, and a member of Kittery Art Association, Seacoast Art Association, and Newburyport Art Association. the focus of her art is frequently themes from her en plein air painting excursions, her abstract exploration, and her enjoyment of the many moods of the New England coast. Although no longer practicing in her profession as a psychotherapist, Barbara has continued to be an active supporter of community agencies. She supports, through her art, NH Public Television, Womenaid of Greater Portsmouth, Portsmouth Music and Art, and Seacoast Pathways.
Dustan Knight is a working artist living in New Castle, a small island near Portsmouth, NH. She earned her MFA at Pratt Institute in NYC during the eighties, and an MA in Art History from Boston University. After years of teaching college and graduate art classes, she has returned full-time to her studio. As a mature artist, Dustan is able to step away from the politics of the art world and delve deeply into what matters most to her. Her art practice has exploded into powerful, abstracted images that celebrate the physicality of her materials and refer to her personal experiences in her PLACE.
After immigrating to the US in 1981, Brian Chu studied painting and earned an MFA in painting from Queens College, City University in New York City. The art career he started in New York expanded to exhibitions and teaching positions in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and New Hampshire. Since 2000, Brian has been a professor of art at the University of New Hampshire. He has had exhibitions in New York City, California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and throughout New England.
Recent exhibitions of his work were at: George Marshall Store Gallery, York, ME Oxbow Gallery, Northampton, MA Merrimack College, MA University of New Hampshire Art Museum
Peter Cady grew up on the coast of New Hampshire. His study of painting began as a boy observing painters with their easels overlooking the ocean. He studied civil engineering but found he was drawn to things artistic and to working with his hands. After college, he worked in construction and learned fine woodworking. He still lives in the timber framed house he built from his trees. His furniture making started to incorporate color and a variety of materials, evolving into sculpture. After a second career of teaching science to middle school students, he returned to the arts. He ahs gotten to know and learn from many fine painters like the ones in this group.
Tom Glover was born in Keene, NH. He graduated with a BFA degree in painting at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, and worked closely with the Maine painter John Laurent up until Laurent’s death in 2005. He studied painting restoration with the conservator Anthony Moore in York, Maine. For several years he lectured at the University of Connecticut to science education graduate students on “The Landscape, Mythology, and the Artist.” He has also taught painting at the UNH Department of Continuing Education, and at workshops on the Isles of Shoals. Currently, he teaches painting at Sanctuary Arts in Eliot, Maine.
The Portsmouth Historical Society presents a panel discussion exploring the New Hampshire Now exhibition with art historian Inez McDermott and photographers Dan Gingras, Michael Sterling, and Gary Samson. The panel will discuss the role of the documentary photography project throughout American history and its potential to make change as they make connections with the images and themes found in the exhibition.
Dan Gingras started his photographic career as a newspaper photographer for seven years before earning a master’s and doctoral degrees in computer science. His fifty-year love of photography and technology merged, as photography became digital and as computers became integral to composition and imaging.
Inez McDermott has been a professor of Art History at New England College since 2000. In her courses she encourages students to examine the role of art in public life and to discover the ways in which the creative process can play a role in social engagement, participatory democracy, and activism. Inez’ research interests focus on historical and contemporary New Hampshire art and artists with a particular interest in 19th century photography. She has also curated major exhibitions at museums in the region, including A House of Dreams Untold, the story of the MacDowell Colony, at the New Hampshire Historical Society in 1996, and, most recently as a co-curator of Mount Washington, The Crown of New England, (2017) at the Currier Museum in Manchester, NH. Inez has served on statewide arts and humanities boards in the state, and currently serves as a board member for the Saint-Gaudens’ Memorial, which supports the work of the only national park dedicated to an artist, in Cornish, NH.
Gary Samson has been a fine art photographer and educator for forty years. His work has been exhibited in Europe and Canada, as well as in the United States, and can be found in numerous collections including the Library of Congress and the Currier Museum of Art. In 2017, Gary was appointed the seventh Artist Laureate of New Hampshire and Professor Emeritus of Photography by the Institute of Art and Design at New England College
Michael Sterling is immediate past president of the New Hampshire Society of Photographic Artists and a contributing photographer for a number of local magazines, newspapers, and nonprofits. Sterling’s work is represented in the permanent collections of the Exeter Chamber of Commerce and Cambridge Trust and was exhibited in Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s Experience New Hampshire event in Washington, DC. Artistic interests include architecture and historic interiors, cityscapes, and environmental portraiture.
This panel discussion has been made possible by a generous grant by the New Hampshire Humanities.
New Hampshire Now: A Photographic Diary of Life in the Granite State
October 1, 2021–December 23, 2021
Opening reception October 1, 2021, 5:30pm
New Hampshire Now is a two-year project to photographically record life in New Hampshire. Nearly 50 photographers traveled throughout the state between 2018 and 2020, making thousands of images that collectively create a twenty-first-century portrait of the people, places, culture, and events in New Hampshire. This project documents contemporary life in our state, in much the same way that photography projects of the past have done, such as Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange during the Great Depression and Lewis Hines when he visited the mills of Manchester in the early 1900s. The thousands of images created during this project form a powerful visual archive of both the ordinary and extraordinary events of our time.
Organized by the New Hampshire Society of Photographic Artists and the New Hampshire Historical Society, eight exhibitions held in the seven regions of the state will all open simultaneously on October 1, 2021. Each exhibition will display photographs unique to that region of the state, while the flagship exhibition at the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord will display images that represent the state as a whole. Each organization is determining how long the exhibition will be open at their facility, so everyone’s closing date will be different.
This ambitious project has been made possible thanks to the generous support of our corporate sponsor, New Hampshire Mutual Bancorp, and its affiliates (NH Trust, Meredith Village Savings Bank, Merrimack County Savings Bank, and the Savings Bank of Walpole), along with Monadnock Paper Mills, Puritan Press, and Red River Paper, with support from Kimball Jenkins School of Art. Additional support for the publication was provided by Furthermore, a J. M. Kaplan Fund.
The book New Hampshire Now features more than 250 images from the project. It will be available for sale at each of the exhibitions and at many independent bookstores around the state. The book is a New Hampshire product, published by Peter Randall Publishers and printed by Puritan Press on paper from Monadnock Paper Mills and Red River Paper.
The book includes forewords by Bill Dunlap and Project Director Gary Samson and an introduction by beloved New Hampshire author Howard Mansfield.
at the John Paul Jones Historic House Museum 43 Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH
Open 7 days, 11 am–5 pm
FREE FREE FREE FREE $7.50
Portsmouth Historical Society Members Seniors 70+ Children under 18 Active & retired military Adults
Admission grants access to the John Paul Jones Historic House Museum at 43 Middle Street, at the galleries in the Academy Building at 10 Middle Street, and can be applied toward a discount on historical walking tours or towards an annual membership
In 1920, the Portsmouth Historical Society (incorporated in 1917) opened the doors of its newly acquired John Paul Jones House as a museum of Seacoast history. Part of the Society’s mission was to collect “Treasures Rich in Historic Memories.” That included preserving the 1758 colonial dwelling thought to have housed John Paul Jones, touted as the father of the American Navy, during one or more of his visits to Portsmouth in 1777 and 1781.
The life of John Paul Jones—as both a hero of the American Revolution and an icon of the colonial revival, shrouded in myth and memory—became a collecting theme for the Society.
In addition, and more broadly, the Society’s goal was to illustrate the contours of Portsmouth history through the display of its material life, a rich story told through an eclectic group of paintings and prints; furniture, ceramics, and other decorative arts; quilts and coverlets, samplers, and clothing; marine art and artifacts; souvenirs and memorabilia; materials related to local businesses; and many other kinds of objects either made in the Seacoast or with a history of ownership in the area.
In the 1920s, many local families—Salter, Dow, Rice, Gray, Knox, and Vaughan among them—stepped up to give their family treasures, establishing an ongoing tradition of generosity. Later, gifts from others and a substantial bequest from Annie Appleton Ferree expanded the collection. In recent years many donors, such as Jean Sawtelle, Hollis Brodrick, and others, have enhanced and expanded our holdings. A high percentage of our collection is on display throughout the various rooms of the John Paul Jones House.
The Society remains the only institution devoted to collecting the entire trajectory of Portsmouth-area history, and continuing that effort is an institutional priority. We welcome you to join us in our quest to document and preserve the tangible aspects of the Seacoast’s unique story.
Edwin Plummer’s portraits of the Cheevers
We are proud to display for the first time since their restoration the portraits of Benjamin and Mary Cheevers by Edwin Plummer. Donated by Kimberley Leach, a descendant of the sitters, these wonderful 1830s portraits were researched by scholar Deborah M. Child, and restored by Mehlin Conservation with funds provided by Michaela Neiro, Deborah M. Child, Susan Zuckert, and Lisa Mehlin.
This pair of portraits was handed down through six generations of the donor’s family until she presented them to the Society in 2019. They depict Benjamin Cheever (1804–1894), a clothier (or merchant tailor) who entered the real estate business later in life, and his wife Mary (1799–1880). Married in 1825, the couple had nine children. Benjamin was also a state representative and a strong abolitionist. Research by the art historian Deborah M. Child suggests that these were probably painted by Edwin Plummer in the fall of 1833, when the artist was in Portsmouth. The local newspaper observed at the time: “We had frequently heard of Mr. Plummer’s productions and on examination are highly pleased with the accuracy of expression delineated in . . . his portraits. Ladies and gentleman who have a taste for the Fine Arts could not feel otherwise than gratified with visiting Mr. Plummer’s Room.” Several generous donors have provided funds to conserve the paintings and the frames.
You can write a poem, story, essay, play or dialogue, newspaper article, or any other kind of writing!
All entries must be submitted by midnight on Monday, September 13, 2021.
Visit Portsmouth Historical Society and check out the art on display in the Twilight of American Impressionism or Don Gorvett: Working Waterfronts exhibitions. Get inspired by your surroundings and select one work of art and write! You may write a poem, story, essay, play/dialogue, newspaper article, or in any other style you would like. You must relate your writing to the artwork you selected.
A panel of judges will read and evaluate the entry based on its content, creativity, expression, clarity, quality, and connection to the original artwork.
Claire Spollen Writing Contest Portsmouth Historical Society Post Office Box 728 Portsmouth, NH 03802
Judging, Awards, and Publication
The judging panel will include staff from Portsmouth Historical Society and local educators.
Entries will be evaluated on content, creativity, expression, clarity, quality, and connection to original artwork.
Judges will select a winner and an honorable mention from each age division.
Winners will be announced at the Discover Portsmouth Welcome Center at 5:00 pm on Friday, October 1, 2021.
Each age division will have one winner and one honorable mention.
There will be a small presentation ceremony to celebrate the winners and participants.
The Young Writers Contest sponsors, Flatbread and Summer Sessions, have generously donated prizes for the three winners. The Discover Portsmouth Museum Shop has donated prizes for the honorable mentions.
Each submission will be placed into a lottery to win a one-year family membership to Portsmouth Historical Society. The winner will be drawn at the award ceremony. You do not need to be present to win.
Participants grant permission to Portsmouth Historical Society to publish your entry and your name for publicity purposes.
at the Discover Portsmouth Welcome Center 10 Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH
Open 7 days, 10 am–5 pm
FREE FREE FREE FREE $7.50
Portsmouth Historical Society Members Seniors 70+ Children under 18 Active & retired military Adults
Admission grants access to the John Paul Jones Historic House Museum at 43 Middles Street, at the galleries in the Academy Building at 10 Middle Street, and can be applied toward a discount on historical walking tours or towards an annual membership
Don Gorvett: Working Waterfronts” presents over sixty works by this famed seacoast master printmaker highlighting the dynamic commercial harbors of the region. Renowned for his imaginative seascapes and “boat portraits,” Gorvett’s work celebrates the mechanical and gritty alongside the serene and picturesque.
Don Gorvett was born in Boston in 1949 and raised in Cambridge and Somerville. Much of his youth was spent at the seashore, swimming, fishing, and observing fishing-town industry. Don’s family moved to Burlington, Massachusetts, where high school art instructor Elinor Marvin discovered his talents. He received from Mrs. Marvin an extraordinary education, focused on drawing, graphic arts, and theatrical set design. He attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and, after graduation, moved to Gloucester, Massachusetts, to pursue a career in painting. With the encouragement of Elinor Marvin, and the support of Annabelle Lewis, a longtime summer resident of Ogunquit, Don began his annual summer-long painting excursions to Ogunquit, Maine. While in Gloucester, Don was introduced to Mrs. Buswell, heiress to the Jacobean-style Stillington Hall estate. She offered the rooms in the estate’s theater for the artist to live in. There Don set up his first etching press and began a series of large-scale woodcuts based on Richard Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung. He also created a series of drypoint etchings recording the Gloucester waterfront.
The seaside and harbors are fundamental to his work, as is his passion for history, drama, and music. His skills as a draughtsman and his understanding of the medium of printmaking are features of his bold, graphic style and the nature of his imagery. The reduction woodcut marries naturally with the maritime rusticity of New England’s harbor towns. All woodcuts are designed, cut, and editioned by Don in his studio. In 2006, Gorvett opened his first gallery with a printmaking studio in Portsmouth, now known as the Don Gorvett Gallery.
Early in 2020, Don moved his studio from Portsmouth to the Beacon Marine Basin in Gloucester. The new studio’s spacious second-floor loft at the marina also allows him to exhibit his own work and that of other nationally known artists and printmakers. Today, Gorvett’s work is in many private and public collections throughout the world.
“Artistic Encounters over the Last Thirty Years”
an evening with Don Gorvett
Join us for an evening lecture with printmaker Don Gorvett as he shares tales of life working as an artist on the Seacoast and shows us the process of creating a reduction woodcut. “Working Waterfronts,” currently on display at the Portsmouth Historical Society, is the first ever retrospective on Gorvett’s work, offers a great opportunity to see the evolution of one artist’s work, and explores the dynamic medium of the reduction woodcut.
June 17, 2021 in-person at the Discover Portsmouth Welcome Center and virtually, via Zoom
Thank you to the lenders and donors who made this exhibition possible
Martha Fuller Clark and Geoffrey E. Clark • Pauline C. Metcalf / The Felicia Fund, Inc. ☙❧ William & Arlene Brewster • Joseph MacDonald Family • New Hampshire State Council on the Arts ☙❧ Anthony Moore Painting Conservation • Jameson & Priscilla French ☙❧ Piscataqua Savings Bank • Cambridge Trust