|For only one dollar, you too can possess Gilbert Stuart's|
most enduring work of art.
The 1750 Gilbert Stuart Homestead was my destination on a cool, crisp New England September morning. I paid the $7.00 admission and Peggy conducted my personal tour. We walked from the gift shop to the first stop on our tour, the homestead's grist mill.
Peggy and I walked over to the pond and stream that were dammed for the mill. Every year River Herring swim upstream from the ocean to spawn in the pond. River Herring are a threatened species and a new dam and spawning ladder will have to be built to accommodate them. Peggy said that when the River Herring hatch in the pond scores of birds, including herons, are attracted to the property to fish for them.
|Gilbert Stuart Homestead: Grist Mill on the right, |
Entrance and Gift shop to the left.
Next on the tour was Gilbert Stuart’s birthplace, an impressive home with wide plank floors and windows all original to the 1750 house. The dwelling boasts a cheerful “family room” and a great room in the basement as attractive as in any modern home. Many of Gilbert Stuart’s paintings adorn the walls, but most are reproductions because the originals are displayed in museums throughout the country.
|Family room in the Stuart Homestead.|
Two of Stuart's George Washington paintings adorn the walls.
Gilbert's family moved to Newport when he was a boy and his talent was first noticed by the eye doctor who cleared up an ocular infection for the 13-year-old lad. In a display of gratitude, Gilbert painted a picture of the physician’s two dogs. Recognizing the expertise shown by this painting, the ophthalmologist paid for young Gilbert to train at an art school in Scotland for two years.
|"Dr. Hunter's Dogs". This stunning painting was completed|
by Stuart at age 13. Extraordinary!