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Ipswich, MA – May 20, 2014 – The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) are pleased to announce that a newly restored portrait of American industrialist and international plumbing magnate Richard Teller Crane, Sr., founder of Crane Co., is now on display in the Crane mansion at Castle Hill. Painted in 1904 by internationally renowned artist Anders Zorn, the portrait will hang in the elegant stairhall of The Great House through mid October thanks to a generous loan by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), and descendants of Frances Crane Lillie.
Descendants of Frances Crane Lillie gave the painting to the MFA, expressing the wish that the MFA loan it to Castle Hill each year during the summer, when Castle Hill is open for visitors. Frances Crane Lillie was the daughter of R.T. Crane Sr., and sister to R.T. Crane, Jr. who built Castle Hill. The painting has arrived just in time for this National Historic Landmark’s official season opening.
“We are so grateful to the MFA and the descendants of Frances Crane Lillie for allowing The Trustees to be the first to publicly display this important work of art since its restoration at one of our most iconic cultural landmarks,” says Barbara Erickson, Trustees President and CEO. “When visitors experience the Crane Estate – a marvel of engineering and design wonder – the prescient legacy of the family can be felt all around you, so it is fitting that the artfully rendered and powerfully presented image of Richard T. Crane Sr. welcomes guests into this estate.”
Painted in 1904 in Pasadena, California, on one of his seven trips to the United States, Zorn’s magnificent oil-on-canvas portrait of Richard Teller Crane, Sr., was carefully restored by the MFA’s conservation staff. The year it was painted, the portrait hung in a Universal Exposition in St. Louis, and then in 1910 in an exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. By the early 1920s, the portrait hung in the Director’s Room at Crane Company headquarters in Chicago. It later descended in the family of Frances Crane Lillie and hung for many years in their Woods Hole, Massachusetts home.
“This project represents a wonderful collaborative effort between two Massachusetts sister institutions,” said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the MFA. “By conserving this painting and placing it in context at Castle Hill, we hope visitors far and wide will be able to enjoy it in its original splendor.”
Born in Sweden, Anders Zorn (1860-1920) was a diverse and internationally acclaimed artist before he came to America in 1893 to partake in the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. A contemporary of John Singer Sargent, he soon became one of the most sought-after painters in America. Although Anders Zorn was one of the most significant modern artists of his time, his legacy has not been well known outside of Europe until more recent exhibitions, such as last year’s show at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. In addition to Richard T. Crane, Sr., some of Zorn’s most notable clients and subjects included prominent society members and businessmen such as Isabella Stewart Gardner, President William Howard Taft, Charles Deering, George Vanderbilt and Andrew Carnegie.
Beginning on May 20th, art, culture and history enthusiasts can see the portrait by visiting The Great House at Castle Hill, the iconic 59-room, David Adler-designed summer home of Crane Co. heir Richard T. Crane, Jr., located on the Crane Estate in Ipswich. Upon his death, R.T. Crane Jr.’s wife, Florence Higinbotham Crane, donated the estate to The Trustees who have been preserving and caring for the property for public enjoyment since 1949.
Visitors can see the newly restored masterpiece during seasonal house tours (offered Tuesday-Saturday) or one of The Crane Estate’s behind-the-scenes “Hot and Cold” tours (offered bi-monthly). Tour participants will learn more about the Crane family’s important role in our nation’s industrial history as well as get a glimpse of their privileged life at their Ipswich summer escape. If time permits, visitors can also enjoy lunch at the Terrace Café, followed by an exterior tour of the magnificent Arthur Shurcliff-designed and recently restored Grand Alleé (the only designed landscape of its scale in North America), as well as the surrounding 2,100-acre conserved landscape, which includes Crane Beach and the Crane Wildlife Refuge. Castle Hill is also one of nine Trustees historic sites open to the public for FREE on Saturday, May 31st. For more information, visit: www.thetrustees.org/homesweethome.
About The Trustees of Reservations
The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) “hold in trust” and care for properties, or “reservations,” of irreplaceable scenic, cultural, and natural significance for the general public to enjoy. Founded by open space visionary Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees is the world’s oldest land trust and one of Massachusetts’ largest conservation and preservation non profits. Supported by more than 100,000 members and donors and thousands of volunteers, The Trustees own and manage 113 spectacular reservations including working farms, historic homesteads and landscaped gardens, community parks, barrier beaches, mountain vistas and woodland trials located on more than 26,000 acres throughout the Commonwealth. An established leader in the conservation and preservation movement and worldwide, The Trustees have also worked with community partners to protect an additional 34,000 acres. With hundreds of outreach programs, workshops, camps, concerts and events annually designed to engage all ages in its mission, The Trustees invite you to Find Your Place and get out and experience the natural beauty and culture our state has to offer. For more information, visit: www.thetrustees.org.