SeacoastNH Home

FRESH STUFF DAILY
Seacoast New Hampshire
& South Coast Maine

facebook logo


facebook logo

Header_flag
SEE ALL SIGNED BOOKS by J. Dennis Robinson click here
Deceased Man Boosts Maine Economy

John Lord Hayes of South Berwick. Maine/ OBHS.netSOUTH BERWICK HISTORY

Why spend $5,000 to restore this old painting? South Berwick historians have a very good reason. Preserving John Lord Hayes (seen here) actually helps preserve Maine. New studies show that communities that care about their culture – about the arts and history -- are better off than communities that don’t. Read more.

 

 

 

WHO WAS John Lord Hayes?  

John Lord Hayes is safe. His deteriorating portrait will be repaired by the Old Berwick Historical Society (OBHS). The Counting House Museum in Maine has received a grant of $2,500 to restore one of the only surviving portraits of a 19th century South Berwick citizen. Hayes is one of the lucky ones. His preserved portrait will go on public display.

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap says a recent report to the Maine Legislature indicated that many of Maine’s historical collections are deteriorating.

Dunlap and other Maine officials emphasize that the "creative economy" is an important factor in the state’s economic growth. Studies now show that cultural resources are important to people planning to locate new businesses or choosing a community in which to retire. Grants such as the one awarded the OBHS sustain the cultural history of this key sector of our economy, officials said. And cultural history is falling apart.

John Lord Hayes, a student at Berwick Academy in South Berwick, went on to an interesting career in Washington, DC. But he was not a Washington or a Jefferson, nor was his portrait painted by a famous national artist. So the painting has not gotten the best care over the years, a problem typical of many early artifacts.

"Maine has an estimated 200 million historical records and hundreds of thousands of historical artifacts, many in facilities with little or no security, fire protection, or environmental controls," says James Henderson, director of the Maine State Archives. "Recent surveys show that Maine people in local government, historical societies and libraries are seeking help to preserve our heritage."

Small grants have stimulated local citizens and organizations to commit more of their own resources to these projects, Henderson went on. "Although financial support is important, recognition of local concerns and effort through an award also generates a substantial amount of enthusiasm," he noted.

The Hayes painting is expected to cost a total of $5000 to restore, so to complete the work, the historical society must raise the balance of the funds. The other $2,500 was awarded by the Facilities Grants Program of the Maine New Century Community Program. During it’s first 150 years the painting was improperly cared for, repaired and displayed, a common problem with old objects. The costly restoration will make up for that.

"The original fabric support is thin linen, but it has been mounted onto a thick paper board backing with an unknown adhesive," said restorer Martha Cox of Shapleigh, Maine. "Some areas of the linen are not adhered and are bubbling and buckling away from the backing board. The canvas has been severely damaged with five major multiple-faceted tears through the background and jacket of the sitter. The damages have been repaired with additional adhesive that is visible on the surrounding paint surface. The tears have caused paint losses and planar distortion to the canvas surrounding the damages."

Cox will have to carefully remove the entire backing board and excess adhesive and paper fibers from the canvas. She will then locally consolidate the areas of flaking from the front of the painting to re-adhere and stabilize the fragile paint.

Artists, then as now, are an important part of the state’s "creative economy" says Henderson. "Grants of this kind support community efforts to protect the stories of our heritage and how we lived our lives. People want to understand the history of their communities."

The restored painting is a focal point of a new exhibit, "South Berwick’s Attic," opening in June. The unknown artist who painted John Lord Hayes was very likely a Maine or New Hampshire portraitist.

OUTSIDE LINKS: The Maine State Archives and Old Berwick Historical Society   

MORE on JOHN LORD HAYES

Please visit these SeacoastNH.com ad partners.

News about Portsmouth from Fosters.com

Saturday, November 18, 2017 
 
Please update your Flash Player to view content.
Please update your Flash Player to view content.
Please update your Flash Player to view content.

Copyright ® 1996-2016 SeacoastNH.com. All rights reserved. Privacy Statement
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Site maintained by ad-cetera graphics