Quick Reference

Time Period:

Herbert Keach Farm
Avery Road, Buckland, MA

Oil on Canvas


Sugaring, Keach

27 X 30


Mr. and Mrs. Robert Kerr



This painting is the off spring of the 40 x 50 When Drifts Melt Fast which won "best landscape" at the 1927 Springfield Art League's annual show and later became one of RSW's most exhibited paintings.

Related Links

Featured Artwork: Sap Gathering

Sap Gathering
This image is When Drifts Melt Fast. Click the link to see its hi-res picture.

RSW's Diary Comments

Steaming Sugar House
Steaming Sugar House, 1929, shows "the steep
perilous road" of Herbert Keach's sugar orchard

"I think painted in the late 1920's. One of my early canvases painted high, on the steep perilous road of Herbert Keach's sugar orchard. Bought prior to 1930 by Bob Kerr, then of Holyoke, now of 150 Highland Ave., Montclair, N. J. (Mr. and Mrs. Robert Kerr)."

Editor's Note:

There are two themes associated with this painting and that of similar scenes found in 1927s When Drifts Melt Fast the "best landscape" from the 1928 Springfield Art League's annual show.

Sometime around the mid-1920s, after his disastrous Regate Studio fire, the artist began his study of Keach brothers respective farms, Herbert being the first with The Friendly Doorway, 1924.. Around the same time RSW took a strong interest in the "sugaring " process as a subject of study from its collection to the boiling. As a subtext to both themes, interiors present themselves frequently. From inside the sugar house to barn interiors.

Following the success of the well traveled When Drifts Melt Fast RSW made two more smaller paintings, Gathering Sap and Sap Gathering above.

Additional Notes

Scene capture of the Kerr family1940 census
Scene capture of the Kerr family1940 census

A quick search of Robert Kerr located the 1940 census page confirming the address in Monclair. Robert (45), a thread manufacturer, his wife Cecil (40), their three sons, Robert (18), David (14), and Geoffrey (12) as well as a maid and cook were all listed as residents of 150 Highland Ave.

Woodward had to have been friendly with the Kerrs or known them well enough to have kept touch over the years. He did not start his painting diary until the early 1940s and the Kerrs had since moved from Holyoke, MA, to Monclair and Woodward knew about it and had their address.