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Lyman Allyn Art Museum presents exhibition exploring the rich heritage of New England gardens
Nelson C. White, Westomere, 1933. Oil on canvas. Gift of Mrs. Neva Reid Johnson.


NEW LONDON, CONN.- The Lyman Allyn Art Museum presents Lost Gardens of New England, an exhibition exploring the rich heritage of New England gardens, great and small. Lost Gardens of New England will be on view from March 1 through July 31, 2015.

Featuring more than forty images of New England gardens from Historic New England’s extraordinary Library and Archives, Lost Gardens of New England is rich in evocative documentary evidence of major themes of American landscape history. The exhibition presents this material to depict several New England gardens, great and small, that no longer exist or only partially survive.

The show includes watercolors, historic photographs, prints, stereo view cards, garden supply catalogues, and even a mid-nineteenth-century nurseryman’s bill with a list of plant materials. Landscape drawings provide insight into how these gardens were conceived and visualized by their creators, either amateur or professional.

Also incorporated into the exhibition are profiles of local “lost” gardens and their owners, including Westomere in New London and the now restored gardens of Eolia, the Harkness estate in Waterford. These influential local citizens brought prominent landscape architects such as Frederick Law Olmstead and Beatrix Farrand to New London County in the early 20th century. As such, Lost Gardens of New England tells the stories of the lost gardens in our own backyard, the people who made them, how they came to be and what has become of them today.

The exhibition material is divided into thematic groupings — urban gardens, family gardens, professionally designed landscapes, colonial revival gardens, and landscape structures. Visions of ideal outdoor spaces range from a country gentleman’s estate, to a picturesque landscape surrounding a suburban villa, to a romantic garden of the early twentieth century. The images selected illustrate and preserve the legacy of New England’s lavish garden design traditions and offer inspiration to all who view them.





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