Upcoming Lecture Looks at Madeline Yale Wynne’s ‘Garden of Hearts’ Chest and the Arts and Craft Movement

A lecture sponsored next month by the Nichols House Museum will examine Madeline Yale Wynne’s recently rediscovered ‘Garden of Hearts’ chest in the context of the Arts and Crafts Movement, which came to prominence in Deerfield, Mass., during the early 20th century.

​Daniel Sousa, the assistant curator of Historic Deerfield,will be on hand Tuesday, Jan. 9, at 6 p.m. at Grogran & Company, located at 20 Charles St., for a discussion on Wynne (1847-1918), who has been called the “leading intellectual light of the Deerfield Arts and Crafts Movement,” as well as the ‘Garden of Hearts’ bride’s chest she created in 1903.

Adorned with paint, decorative carving, hammered-copper panels, wrought-iron hinges, and semi-precious stones, the chest was inspired by 18th-century Connecticut Valley chests and can now be found in Historic Deerfield’s collection. Its front lid depicts a landscape with three inverted heart-shaped trees along a winding river. The chest has been called “a tour-de-force of Arts and Crafts design” that showcases Wynne’s talents as a painter, metalsmith, and woodworker, and it’s widely considered  her greatest artistic accomplishment.

Camille Arbogast, public engagement manager for the Nichols House Museum, said the discussion will also look at how the Arts and Crafts Movement emerged in the early 20th century, with artisans, primarily women, making beautiful, handmade objects as “a reaction against the growing industrialization of society.”

Arbogast said the Nichols House Museum is particularly excited by the rediscovery of the chest and Wynne’s story because Rose Nichols was also herself a wood carver and one of her chests can be found on permanent display in the museum’s collection.

Moreover, Arbogast points out that the Arts and Crafts Movement was sweeping Deerfield at the same time as the movement was growing in popularity on Beacon Hill, with women like Rose Nichols working from their homes, while more professional artisans could be found living in the boarding houses on Pinckney Street.

“We hope this [discussion] can provide more context for Rose’s work,” said Arbogast.

Tickets for this event cost $10 each for Nichols House Museum members; $15 each general admission; and $8 each for the Student/Discounted rate. For more information and to purchase tickets, https://www.nicholshousemuseum.org/events/garden-of-hearts/.

Visit www.nicholshousemuseum.org for more information on the Nichols House Museum.

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