Roseland Cottage is one of the few Gothic Revival homes that remains virtually unchanged inside and out, from the days when it echoed with the voices of Lucy, Henry, and their ten children and later, when Henry and Ellen Holt, his second wife added features not usually associated with a country home. It survives with its furnishings, 1880s elaborate wall coverings, stained glass, family belongings, and “modern” conveniences.
When it was New
The 1880s wallcoverings in the public spaces of Roseland Cottage are a type known as Lincrusta- Walton or Lincrusta. Invented by Frederic Walton in England in 1877, it’s produced by pressing a mixture of wood pulp and linseed oil onto a fabric or paper backing to create a raised pattern. Beginning in 1883 Lincrusta was produced in the Stamford, Connecticut factory of Frederick Beck & Co. This is how the Lincrusta looked when installed in the house in the 1880s, at the height of the Gilded Age.
Chandler Farm, James J. Sawyer (1813-1888), Pomfret, Connecticut, 1858
In 1839, James Jones Sawyer left Pomfret, Connecticut, to embark on a career as an artist in New York City. There he found a patron in Henry C. Bowen. Although Sawyer exhibited at the National Academy of Design, his real success began after he returned to Connecticut, no doubt with Bowen’s support. He enjoyed a prolific and varied career painting portraits of prominent citizens, copying ancestral portraits, and painting scenes from nature like this detailed painting of Chandler Farm in Pomfret, Connecticut.
Chandler Farm is typical of the productive farms that dotted the New England landscape in the mid nineteenth century when ninety percent of the population was still engaged in some form of agriculture. It was then owned by John Chandler, the fourth generation of his family to work the hundred-acre plot of land. The main farmhouse and large barn are surrounded by numerous outbuildings. Well-maintained stone walls and fences separate specific areas, including the piggery and the tidy kitchen garden.
Woodstock Hill, Sawyer
Woodstock Hill, Sawyer
Woodstock Hill, James J. Sawyer (1818-1888), Woodstock, Connecticut, 1859.
The artist James J. Sawyer grew up in northeast Connecticut, close to Woodstock. He and Henry Bowen became acquainted after Sawyer moved to New York to train as an artist and find clients. Although Sawyer made a decent living in New York, mostly painting copies of old family portraits, he eventually returned to Connecticut. This view, taken from Woodstock Hill overlooking Roseland Cottage with Woodstock Academy behind it, may have been commissioned by Bowen, or it may have been a gift. It’s a wonderful document showing not only the Cottage, but the buildings and agricultural fields that surrounded it in 1859.