The Painted Door


This summer my dear friend Barb took me on a field trip to The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

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In the summer of 1900 a boardinghouse for artists began operation in the quiet shoreline town of Old Lyme, Connecticut. For the next two decades Miss Florence Griswold’s house on Lyme Street was home to one of the most famous art colonies in America and critical to the development of American Impressionism. — Hildegard Cummings, independent art historian and curator

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The story of Miss Florence and this house is fascinating, but what intrigued me most were the painted doors. Her summer guests were an elite group of American Tonalist and Impressionist painters including Childe Hassam and others.

Miss Florence allowed her favorite artists to paint on her interior doors.

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I’m a door painter from way back. I started in the 1970s, painting rural trompe l’oeil on close to a dozen barn doors at Doolittle Farm in Shoreham, Vermont.

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Painting these gave a me a local reputation and I did several more barns before leaving the state in 1980.

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Like William Henry Howe, who painted this Normandy Bull on Florence Griswold’s door, I made portraits of animals, children, and random chickens.

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This busy scene on a barn in Shoreham needs only the kitchen sink to make it complete.

And this one is a faux door–painted to match the real one next to it.

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The nice thing about doors is that every house has some. You always have a canvas if you want to try this at home!

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