Quick Reference

Time Period:
Fall of 1947

Heath Pasture, MA

Oil on Canvas


Beech Tree

27 x 30


Dr. and Mrs. William B. Terhune



Burnt Hill, Heath pasture and Beech Trees were RSW's most prolific painting subjects.

Related Links

Featured Artwork: Horizon of Heath

Horizon of Heath

RSW's Diary Comments

Heath Horizon
Heath Horizon, year unknown
Similar in name, subject, and probably season
this painting matches RSW's description as well.
Since we do not have a color image of this page's
artwork, this image will give you a sense of its
coloring. But note the paintings are from a
slightly different perspective and cloud cover,
suggesting they were made independently.

"Horizon of Heath. 27 X 30, Fall of 1947. The beech tree in Heath, with a band of deep blue hills back of it and scrubby pasture with gray ledges and pasture road in foreground. Painted in early October, just a flush of fall color in the blue hills. Beach tree tawny and browning; foreground yellow and browned, and ochre, with just touches of dull red foreground grass pale ochre. The sky (3/4 of the canvas) a tangled mass of gray autumn clouds, with just a few small patches of blue showing. Sold, January, 1951 to Dr. and Mrs. William B. Terhune, New Canaan, CT."

Editor's Note:

This is about as detailed a diary comment as you are going to get from Woodward. Because we do not know when he wrote the diary entry we wonder if perhaps it is as detailed as it is because it was written sometime after the Pasture House in Heath burned in 1950.

We also do not think its sale to the Terhunes is an accident either. We suspect Woodward sold it to them because he has known them for many years through their connection to Stockbridge, MA, the Austin Riggs Foundation, and Woodward's close friend Dr. Lawrence K. Lunt. See the Additional Notes Section for more...

Additional Notes

Dr. William B. Terhune
Dr. William B. Terhune, 1894 -1987
Psychiatrist, Author, Educator
Yale University, New Haven, CT; 1916 - '58
Associations with: Austen Riggs Foundation
and Silver Hill Hosp. New Canaan, CT.

Part of our effort to give deeper context to Woodward's career, one being the pattern of his actions, and for another... researching his customers when we have a name. Here we have a highly regarded doctor of psychiatry. A simple Google search yielded 797,000 results and atop of that query was his New York Times Obituary. We learn he was a founding member of Yale University's Psychiatry Department, but it was the synopsis of the third result that jumped out to us. Dr. Terhune's name next to the name, Austen Riggs Foundation and Dr. Austen Fox Riggs. The connection is made from the correspondence held in the Archives at Yale website under the "Elizabeth Cutter Morrow papers regarding Dwight W. Morrow, Jr." From there it was a series of links to his books for sale online, additional obituaries in a variety of newspapers.

If you are not familiar, the Austen Riggs Foundation owns a Woodward painting (The Brook) purchased in the early 1920s. The facilitator of that sale is none other than Woodward's close friend and advocate, Dr. Lawrence K. Lunt, whose first job after becoming a doctor of psychiatry just so happened to be the Austen Riggs Foundation in Stockbridge, MA. Lunt also facilitated the subscription campaign that led to the Stockbridge Public Library's purchase of the painting, The Lone Tree. The Lone Tree is the earliest known painting of the Beech Tree on the Heath Pasture. Also, note that Dr. Lunt was living in Wyoming in the 1950s. We are not suggesting he connected Dr. Terhune to Woodward in 1951. We are saying that Woodward was introduced earlier and continued a relationship.

The Heath Pasture Studio / House from the picnick-
ing area down the path seen in the paintings and in front
of the Beech Tree. Note the natural bench formations of
the rock ledge. Woodward considered it his "Shrangri-la"
or heaven on earth. The place holds untold meaning and
metaphor to the artist. As if it was made special for him.
And the Beech Tree itself, a self-portrait of perseverance.

What makes this "coincidence" of special interest to us is the timing of the sale and to whom the painting was sold. It is literally just a few months removed from the fire that destroyed the Pasture House in Heath. Woodward had owned the property since 1938, but had been visiting it since the early 1920s, if not even earlier than that! Yet, this painting was made in the fall of 1947 and we have NO record of it ever exhibiting. Furthermore, the artist is also a year away from reluctantly putting down his brush and retiring. This holds of all the ingredients that suggest just how special this painting is to Woodward and how he was particular with where certain paintings went and who owned them.

It is also important to mention that when Woodward discovered the Pasture House fire. According to Dr. Mark who was with him. Woodward said to turn the car around and go home. Heartbroken he never went back to the property.

Dr. Terhune wrote 2 popular books, Emotional Problems and What You Can Do About Them; First Aid to Wiser Living and Living Wisely and Well: a Discussion of Techniques of Personal Adjustment. He also published an academic book The Integration of Psychiatry and Medicine and a manual on psychiatric nursing Postgraduate Work in Psychiatric Nursing.