London Rooms, Pompeian Ruins, and Cultivated Scenery: Uncovering the Real Story behind Thomas Cole’s Decoration of Cedar Grove
Join Jean Dunbar as she reveals a dramatic new discovery behind the artist Thomas Cole’s interior designs at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, historically known as Cedar Grove. Over her 12 years as the historic site’s design detective and historic interiors expert, Jean Dunbar has forensically reconstructed long-lost interior designs by Thomas Cole, the founder of this nation’s first major art movement, now known as the Hudson River School of landscape painting.
In this Sunday Salon, Dr. Dunbar will unveil a new discovery and a fascinating trail of fresh clues leading from that find. Evidence that she found in the small towns in England where Cole spent his childhood brings new focus to the places and experiences that led the artist to transform his home into what he called “cultivated scenery.” Today, the rediscovered interior of the artist’s home in Catskill is the only surviving example of Thomas Cole’s virtuosity as a designer—though Cole’s well-known American landscape paintings show how skills learned from design enabled and informed his art.
Jean Dunbar is a historic-interiors consultant who has been researching Thomas Cole’s home and studio since 2008. Her articles about design history and interior preservation have appeared in magazines such as Preservation, Early American Life, Victorian Homes, and Fine Homebuilding.
The Thomas Cole National Historic Site dedicates the 2021 Sunday Salons lecture series to the memory of David Grey. Support provided by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, Empire State Development’s I LOVE NEW YORK program under the Market NY initiative, and the Kindred Spirits Society of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site.