Potters on the Merrimac: A Century of New England Ceramics
September 7, 2019 – April 30, 2020
This exhibit focuses on utilitarian, lead-glazed earthenware, which had been a household necessity in New England since the earliest days of seventeenth-century settlement. Domestic production of everyday ceramic wares began not long after the Massachusetts Bay Colony was established on the shores of North America. As with all such items of manufacture, these locally-made objects were also used in trade and commerce beyond their practical functions in the household. Over time, they became staples of the local economy, and were traded as far as they could be carried. In Essex County, Massachusetts, on the banks of the Merrimac River, generations of families produced ceramic vessels of varying dimensions and purpose, utilizing local clay deposits to fulfill the needs of their community, and to ensure the livelihood of their kin. They built workshops, warehouses, kilns, and homes, which they passed on to the next generation, along with the knowledge of their trade.
Richard Burke Jones: Painter of History
November 2, 2019 – April 30, 2020
The featured works of Newburyport resident and artist Richard Burke Jones recreate the historical cityscapes of early New England in order to convey a glimpse of the past through an artistic lens. Viewing the scene from a high vantage, these sprawling panoramas at once convey a sense of expansive calm before drawing the viewer into the bustle of everyday lives of people and commerce in a historical port city. From the attention to detail in the architecture of a nineteenth century building, the presence of a ship at port on the Merrimack River, or the feeling of weight in a turning carriage, Jones gives a sense of a living environment in an idealized moment frozen in time.
This exhibit focuses on Jones’ process in creating his historically inspired paintings. From research, to large-scale studies, and finally to paint, the pieces exhibited convey insight into the artist’s method.