Sunday, April 21, 2013

Widow's Walk

Behind a locked door
up a steep winding staircase
is a Widow's Walk atop the Rogers mansion.
 Views over the town,
no view to the sea.
Is it the cloudy day?
Or trees grown tall since the Whaling days of the 1800s.
Inside the Rogers Mansion.
A painting of a beautiful young woman hangs in the foyer.
Portrait of Dorothy Axtelle Atterbury 
"Astelle" (1899-1986) 
by an unknown artist, 1927
Oil on canvas, 35" x 25.5" framed.
In this work, Astelle was originally painted wearing a peacock patterned dress. It is said that she argued with the artist until he begrudgingly agreed to paint the dress black. 
Astelle married the famous architect Grosvenor Atterbury (1869-1956) in 1923. He was 53 and a confirmed bachelor. She was 23. Dorothy Axtelle Johnstone's marriage to Atterbury surprised and shocked society. Previous to their marriage, Atterbury had stepped in as Miss Johnstone's guardian after her father suffered a debilitating carriage accident. The couple moved to Southampton in the late 1940s. This painting nearly didn't make it to the museum as Astelle had planned to destroy it. She lived as a recluse after the death of her husband and saw the painting as a symbol of a past life which no longer existed. 
A 1929 photo of the inside of the Atterbury home on 70th and Lexington in New York City.
The Southampton Historical Museum is hosting the 
an Insider's View
Saturday, May 11, 2013 1:00 - 4:30
Champagne Reception and Art Exhibit Preview
at the Rogers Mansion 4:30-6:00
sponsored by Sant Ambroeus
Extraordinarily Ordinary! Photos by Mallory Samson
Southampton Landscapes by Patricia Garrity

1 comment:

  1. Interesting story to the painting, Gail. I wonder if there was once a good view to the sea from the widow's walk?

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