Featured Artwork: Burnham Cottage

Burnham Cottage
This painting is the only example of Woodward using a 15 x 36 stretcher.
Click here for a high resolution image of painting

RSW's Diary Comments

Side by side comparison.
The arrow points to the location of the cottage

None, however RSW did mention the cottage in two other painting diary comments: Through Winter Woods and October Brilliance. He also made note of the cottage in a photo of his Redgate Studio to the right.

A handwritten note found on the painting written by William B. Foster. His mother was Pauline Burnham, daughter of Fredrick W. Burnham, it's owner. The cottage, built in 1905, was located on the property of the Hiram Farm which RSW would later buy in 1923 after his Redgate fire.

Below, the transcription of the note:

"The Shack was up in the hills maybe near Shelburn Falls. Owned by my grandfather. Picnics in summer with my uncles et al. Painter had a studio nearby down the hill. One of my favorite paintings. Owned by my mother's father."

Additional Notes

Close up of the cottage
Close up of the cottage

The Burnham Cottage is located west of the barn of the Hiram Woodward Place which RSW later converted into his home and studio after the Redgate fire. Built in 1905, it is unclear why Burnham built it, however, there is speculation he may have had it built as a temporary residence for his daughter Pauline. It is also unclear when RSW moved into the cottage. When he arrived in Buckland in 1911, he stayed with relatives (the Wells) on their Pine Hill Farm estate. It was the family's old milk shed that was converted into the Redgate studio from which he worked. We believe he lived with the Wells for just a few years and then moved into the cottage between 1913 and 1915. After RSW purchased the Hiram Farm, which included the cottage, we believe that either his nurse, Lucy or handiman Fabian Stone lived there.

The following is testimony by Mark with regard to the proximity of the Redgate Studio and the Cottage:

picture of the painting in it's frame
Here is a picture of the painting in it's frame

During the 1940's RSW often had his helpers (including me, drive him out to the location and spoke fondly of his days living there. The property has gone through several owners since then. It is currently occupied by a retired real estate lady who very much loves the little home.

"At this time, it is unknown exactly how RSW split his time between the cottage and the studio. Initially it was believed that he used Redgate as both his home and studio. However, several pieces of information lead us to believe that he made his home in the cottage and worked in the Redgate Studio. "

RSW's signature
RSW's signature on the lower left
J.H. Miller label found on the frame
J.H. Miller label found on the frame

All in all, RSW's relationship with the cottage spanned nearly twenty years! In the note found on the back of the painting, it mentioned "Picnics in summer with my uncles et al," and so it was with Woodward and his family and friends. The cottage located next to Clark Brook was an excellant spot to picnic. It is believed that RSW had Fabian, an excellent mason design and build an outdoor stove and benches with stones found from the fields of their many journeys about the country side. We also believe that Fabian built the stonework that converted the brook into a swimming hole by damming it up.

The following, below, is an article by Margaret Getchell for the Boston Evening Transcript (Dec. 8, 1920). It gives an excellent description of Woodward's life and work at Redgate during the early years of his career.

The website staff finds it so interesting that this reporter would travel by train to spend the day with Woodward after receiving attention of note with his paintings exhibited at the Boston Art Club exhibitions. The reporter makes note that Woodward purposely does not make it a point to appear at exhibitions.

"He fears that if he himself should appear at the galleries where they are shown, a sentimental interest might be awakened in his work; and he wants no such special interest, but rather desires his power as an artist to be the foundation for the reputation which he is so rapidly building."

It is a great insight to Woodward and one of the more intimate profiles ever written about him. It is a great read.

Boston Evening Transcript, December 8, 1920, by Margaret C. Getchell