Boston in the 19th century saw a a wave of philanthropy and investment in arts and culture. This legacy can be found not only in grand concert halls or vaulting monuments. A bejeweled, white gold ring is elegant and understated, but quietly dazzling both in its beauty and workmanship.
Boston in the 19th century saw a a wave of philanthropy and investment in arts and culture.
This legacy can be found not only in grand concert halls or vaulting monuments. A bejeweled, white gold ring is elegant and understated, but quietly dazzling both in its beauty and workmanship.
A desk of rich wood and mother-of-pearl bears an alphabet painting, giving the piece both a sense of function and charm.
All these objects are part of a new exhibit, “A Dedication to Craft: The North Bennet Street School at 125,” at the Concord Museum, celebrating the 125th anniversary of a Boston school founded by philanthropist Pauline Agassiz Shaw to provide skills for immigrants and others in need of employment.
“The exhibit is a collaboration between the North Bennet Street School and the Concord Museum, with exemplary works by more than 60 alumni of the school,” said David Wood, the museum’s curator. “The objects, despite being all different media, are executed with a similar degree of care, and attention and precision. They are all jewel-like.”
He said the exhibit highlights the makers’ mastery and respect for the materials and finished product. “You can just see it in every one of these pieces.”
There is also an element of mystery, and history, as most of the pieces take some cue from an age of craftsmanship from the past.
For example, a card table created by Matt Wajda in 2006, made of mahogany, holly and ebony, reflects the style and methods of furniture makers of the 18th century and is based on a piece by the Seymour brothers, of a sought-after furniture making family of colonial-era New England.
In each piece, the vision of the school’s founder can also be seen, Wood said. “These were people who could do anything they want. Pauline Shaw didn’t have to work. She could have traveled, for example … but she had another idea.”
If you go
‘A Dedication to Craft: North Bennet Street School at 125’
Where Concord Museum, 53 Cambridge Turnpike, through March 21.
Museum hours Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas
Admission Members free; adults $10, seniors 62 and over $8, students 18 and over with ID $8; children 6 to 17 $5; under 6 free. Active military with ID free.
For more information call 978-369-9763 or visit www.concordmuseum.org.
Margaret Smith is Arts and Calendar editor at Gate House Media New England's Northwest Unit. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.