Quick Reference

Time Period:
Painted in 1921 - '22

Burnt Hill
Heath, MA

Oil on Canvas


Beech Tree

25 X 30

Stockbridge Pub. Library, 1922

Stockbridge Pub. Lib. Association
through a subscription campaign.



The oldest known Beech Tree painting from Heath, MA.

The driving force behind the campaign to purchase the painting is RSW's close friend Dr. Lawrence K. Lunt, at the time, a resident of Stockbridge.

It stills hangs in the library's original building.

Related Links

Featured Artwork: The Lone Tree

The Lone Tree
This image has been edited to reduce the veins of craquelure stress throughout the sky
Click here for a high resolution image of painting

RSW's Diary Comments

There is a signature on the painting, however,
it is partially covered by the frame. Because of the
height of the painting on the wall. We could not see it
with our own eyes. We could only take pictures of it
by holding the camera over our heads. Initially, we
could NOT find an "S", or at least a black one but it's
there, barely visible and faded... a Red "S" he started
using in 1922 as a distinct brand of his signature.

There are no diary comments regarding this painting.

Editor's Note:

There has been some confusion about this painting. Below are two newspaper clippings from Woodward's scrapbooks as to how the library got the painting. Neither article mentions a name for the painting and so we do not know where Dr. Mark got the name. We can only assume that he spoke to the person in charge of the library's archives. Otherwise, we are sure he would have given it a number and placed it in the website's Unnamed Gallery which is what he usually did with paintings without a known name.

The original Stockbridge Public
Library Building. The window you see
was once the front door to the library.

When Dr. Mark first started the website. He traveled to Stockbridge, and the town's public library to get a picture of it. The picture was quite blurry, in part, to the poor light, as well as its location hanging some 12 feet up from the floor, and the low resolutions of early digital cameras. The name could have only come from somebody at the library. Unfortunately, the library archives are currently closed due to an HVAC problem and we could not find anyone who could answer our questions. We will need to make an appointment with someone from Archives for more information.

The confusion comes from what could have been a typo or error made by Dr. Mark at some later time but he cited the year of the painting to be 1939 and that it was bought in 1940. Doc worked diligently on the website well into his mid-to-late 80s and his eyesight was failing as well. This information could very well have been intended for another page and he opened this file instead. Until we can straighten out what is what, and confirm the information. We are going with only what we can confirm:
   a painting was bought in 1922 by the library;
   the only painting hanging in the library in 2023 is
       the one pictured above; and
   the only name we have in any of our records is
       The Lone Tree.

Additional Notes

Dr. Lawrence Kirby Lunt, Psychiatrist
Lunt's first job was in Stockbridge at the
Austen Riggs Institute in Lenox, MA. He
later moved to Concord, and started his
own sanitarium, Valleyhead that hosted
as many as ten exhibitions of RSW's work.

Woodward first met Lawrence Lunt in 1910 arriving in Boston to attend the Museum of Fine Art School. Lunt is the distant (actually, quite distant) cousin of Woodward's friend and classmate, Joseph Cowell. The connection between Lunt and Cowell is Boston socialite Mary "Minnie" Eliot. She is cousin to both, on different branches of her complex family tree. Anyway, Cowell contacted Minnie for help raising money to bring the recently paralysed aspiring artist to Boston from California. Woodward credits her as the driving force that led him to making it to the school.

Lunt is, at the time, a medical student at Harvard. The two would become fast friends and those friends would stay close for many years.

After Lunt graduates and finishes his training, specializing in Psychiatry. His first job is at the Austen Riggs Institute in Stockbridge, MA. He and his wife were frequent guest of Woodward at his Hiram Woodward Place in the 1920s, staying there many weekends according to Lunt himself.

There are perhaps no two greater advocates and supporters of Woodward than Lawrence and Minnie. The two are critical in several instances of coming to his rescue when necessary and still more, especially Lawrence, of hosting events to exhibit and sell Woodward's work... this 1922 event included. Lunt is cited by the newspapers as being the driving force behind the library's purchase of the painting, The Lone Tree. It was selected by Lunt and unanimously approved by the library association's board according to the clippings below.

North Adams Transcript,
February 19, 1922
Mistaking Woodward's name for this article
probably caused quite a row for the paper.

A "subscription" plan was initiated by Edwin L. Turnbull, president of the Johns Hopkins Musical association. Fifty-seven people contributed raising $406 which in today's dollars comes to nearly $7,400. One of those contributors is Dr. Austen Fox Riggs, Lunt's boss and proprietor of the Austen Riggs Institute who also purchased a Woodward painting, The Brook for his facility.

The painting reportedly hung above the doorway of the library's entrance, a place of honor as far as we are concerned. Because the library has expanded and the doorway to the original building was converted to a large showcase window. The painting now hangs a few feet to the right of the former doorway, now window, high on the wall to be seen above the bookshelves.

There is a possibility that there may be another Woodward painting in the library's collection not on display. We have some notes by Dr. Mark that seem to indicate that Dr. Lunt also donated a painting to the library before leaving Stockbridge for Concord. We are working on confirming this information. We are sure if Doc had a chance to take a picture of it, we would have it.

The Berkshire Evening Eagle,
February 10, 1922

The Berkshire Evening Eagle, February 10, 1922:

"The subject of the canvas is a rugged hill top, in which the artist's special gift for realistic portrayal of rocks, and vivid color effects, has had full scope. It is now being framed and will shortly be hung in the library."

This description confirms that this IS the painting purchased.

It ALSO moves the years we believe Woodward traveled to Burnt Hill Pasture in Heath, MA from the mid-1920s to the early 1920s... before he OWNED his first car. This is important because you do not start to see a consistent flow of Beech Tree paintings until the 1930s. It not for some of his diary comments about his visit to The Manse in Heath to paint from the Moors yard, we would have no evidence he knew of the Beech Tree at all without this painting.

Also from the The Berkshire Evening Eagle article:

"Dr. and Mrs. Lunt own several of Mr. Woodward's landscapes and another has been recently purchased by Miss Virginia Butler..."

There is no telling how many painting the Lunts owned at any given time OR how many were loaned to them for indefinite periods of time. We have no information in this regard.