There’s a fabulous treasure waiting to be found on the corner of Middle and State streets in downtown Portsmouth. That beautiful yellow Georgian mansion is the John Paul Jones House Museum and Gardens and it is waiting for you to visit and discover all it has to offer.
Portsmouth Historical Society announces that the John Paul Jones House Museum and Gardens, a National Historic Landmark, will open for the 2018 season on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28. Open seven days a week from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., the landmark remains open until Columbus Day, Monday, October 8, with a special one-day opening on Veterans Day, Sunday, November 11, 2018, when admission is free. New this year is a special exhibition of works of art of many types by women from the seacoast area. Titled Overlooked and Undervalued: Three Hundred Years of Women’s Art from the Seacoast, the exhibition is organized by Gerald W.R. Ward and Lainey McCartney.
Gerry Ward, curator, says, “It is a great pleasure to open the doors of the John Paul Jones House for the summer season. Once again, our visitors will have access to this grand Georgian mansion, built in 1758 and filled with collections pertaining to four centuries of Portsmouth’s history. This year, in addition to the several galleries devoted to John Paul Jones, the Russo-Japanese Peace Treaty signed in Portsmouth in 1905, Portsmouth’s maritime history, and local paintings and decorative arts, we are featuring a special exhibition of art by women to complement the concurrent exhibitions at Discover Portsmouth including Gertrude Fiske: American Master and Seacoast Masters Today.”
About the exhibition, Overlooked and Undervalued:
Throughout history, women’s art (and contributions by women in all fields) has often been “overlooked and undervalued,” regarded as inferior to art created by men or relegated to the world of decorative household crafts. Nevertheless, working within these confines, and often coping with the demands of child-bearing and child-rearing, women have created important works of art, broadly conceived, often notable for great technical skill and inventive approaches.
This exhibition examines some of the myriad forms of female artistic production, both professional and amateur, in the Portsmouth area during the last few centuries. It also serves as a companion to Gertrude Fiske: American Master and its related exhibitions in the galleries at Discover Portsmouth. Those shows demonstrate the challenges and achievements of women in the traditional arena of academic painting from the early twentieth century to the present. “Seacoast Masters Today,” for example, reflects the current vibrancy of the art community in the area. Some of the precursors to that modern world are represented here, but we have expanded the boundaries to include many other types of art.
Thus, in addition to paintings, works on paper, and miniatures, this show also explores quilts, needlework, beadwork, clothing, painted china, and other objects created by women over three centuries for both aesthetic expression and commercial employment. The display provides a glimpse not only into the colorful “labors of love” fashioned by women of all ages for domestic purposes, but includes several works done by professional female artists competing in the marketplace and seeking to make a living through art while also teaching or engaged in other pursuits.
The full story of women’s art in Portsmouth has yet to be written. This small show provides an opportunity to recognize some of the changing forms and contours of women’s art from the eighteenth century to (in one instance) 2017.
John Paul Jones Birthday Party
Sunday, July 8, 2018 1p.m.-4 p.m.
John Paul Jones Fall Jubilee + Silent Auction
Thursday, September 6, 2018 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.