Famous stage actor Joseph Holland, who in the role of Caesar, reportedly was stabbed on stage by Orson Welles (playing Brutus),
opening night of the 1937 Mercury Theater's production of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.
It is unknown how Mr. Holland came into possession of Winter Design. He reportedly owned a farm in Hawley, MA, and could have come across the painting in any number of ways. He could have even known the original owner Mrs. White. Mr. Holland also owned the recently discovered October Gold.
“Painted prior to 1930. A canvas designed and composed by me arbitrarily in the studio as just a pleasing picture, something I have very rarely done, a flat valley landscape, banded above by a low range of blue hills, under quite an expanse of sky, with very tall slender tree boles decorative lining up each side of the canvas. Shown at one of my early Myles Standish Gallery Exhibitions in Boston and bought by Mrs. Franklin K. White, now of 243 Ridgeway Rd., Weston, Mass. Later she had a Christmas card made from a plate of the canvas.” [Editor's Emphasis]
This previously unnamed painting was believed to be
painted from Fox Rd. in Buckland, MA, near the Burnham Cottage where RSW lived after Redgate. The crooked brook,
named Clark, runs behind the cottage and is the subject of a couple paintings seen in the Brooks, Ponds, Rivers
Gallery. What did not add up and to a large part, the reason it remained unnamed until now, is that is was believed to be a sketch. It was not
until the current owners contacted us that we even learned of its existence.
The key to determining the name of this painting came from RSW's diary comments ("designed and composed by me arbitrarily in the studio"), while we suspected it was painted from Fox Road in Buckland, MA, the editors could NOT line up the features to the vantage point. It was not until reading this diary entry that it solidified the painting's name.
The hills to the right match the topography up to the middle of the painting. The left side of the painting skews with the 'cut' in the hills being moved in closer.
The country road, Route 112 is completely missing from the painting, including the berm that would have blocked the views of the homes in the distance, as well as, coverts over the brook.
The homes in the distance, in reality, should be farther to the left and not so centered.
Clark Brook, as seen in the painting, does not meet with the Deerfield from RSW's believed vantage point, nor does it come near the homes pictured.
This was highly unusual for Woodward. Typically, he painted scenes as he saw them. It wasn't until our Web Developer, Brian, reviewed diary comments of "winter" titled paintings that these anomalies finally added up to the naming of this painting.
This "composite" style of composition is very rare for Woodward, we know of only 2 other paintings where RSW used it.
The homes from the painting today look much the same way they did some 85+ years ago only with fresh coats of paint.
It is worth noting that the road we took these pictures from is also missing from the painting.
Because of the new growth of trees in that period of time we were unable to photograph the scene from the vantage point where Woodward painted it.