Arts Everyday Living: Impressionist Hassam’s Immortal Friend—the Poet of Appledore Island

Childe Hassam, In the Garden (Celia Thaxter in Her Garden), 1892, oil on canvas, 22 1/4 inches x 18 inches, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Gellatly

A few years before she died, American Impressionist Childe Hassam (1859-1935) immortalized his poet friend Celia Thaxter (1835-1894)  surrounded by the summer blossoms she lovingly tended. For Appledore was her artistic domain, where she grew up and spent most of her adult life, recreating in verse as well as prose the island paradise.

Yet, her existence was not solitary, forming an arts salon, that included a host of renowned figures ranging from writers Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne to painters Childe Hassam and William Holman Hunt, among others who stayed in the family hotel or her nearby cottage. Only a decade after Thaxter’s death, both buildings would burn in a fire. The garden too would disappear, only a memory until 1978 when it was reconstructed by Shoals Marine Laboratory which now occupies Appledore.

To see the interior of Celia Thaxter’s home, google:

Room of Flowers, 1894, Private Collection





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