Friday, July 9, 2010

July 9, 1899

Turner’s Mill, Chadd’s Ford, Pennsylvania, Summer 1898 or 1899

From The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 9, 1899:
...A summer school of quite a unique order is the Chadd’s Ford School, taught by Howard Pyle and officially known as the “Drexel Institute Summer School of Illustration.” This school is peculiar in that its membership is limited to ten and these ten students are all scholarship students whose tuition, board and lodging are paid for by the institute. Mr. Pyle, who is always busy with his own work, has not time to give to more pupils than these.

The Drexel Institute, in providing this school for its prize pupils - presumably the best workers in its art classes - has made sure that there will be no back sliding, because of desultory summer work, from the high standard established in its winter school.

The school is, before everything else, a school of illustration and the ten young illustrators are engaged in the practice of their profession quite as legitimately as though they were even now pegging away in a hot city studio. Most of them are filling orders for publishing houses and doing besides the regular work of the class.

The setting of this school is charming and its quiet rural beauty offers no distraction from the classroom requirements. The studio work room is an old ivy-covered mill, within whose cool and shaded walls there still clings an odor of grain. Here the “ten” work each day from 8 o’clock until 5, long hours for summer time, when any work drags. When the day’s work is ended - and they know that time by the tinkle of bells of the home-coming cows - they wash their brushes in a neighboring stream, stow away their painting paraphernalia behind doors and on shelves, mount their bicycles and disperse for the night. The men of the school lodge at a small country hotel in Chadd’s Ford, and the girls keep house in a quaint old farm house, used long ago as Lafayette’s headquarters during the Battle of Brandywine.

The recreations of this little group of workers are all pastoral. The milking of the cows forms an important episode in the day, and now and then they help in the harvesting of crops. On pleasant nights they ride their bicycles through the quiet country lanes, and when it rains they play hide and seek in the old mill. There is not much excitement there, it is true, but it is a healthful, happy, purposeful life, which send the students back to their homes with no regrets over a wasted summer....

“...they wash their brushes in a neighboring stream...”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have to wonder to what extent they realized what they were getting . . .
--Bob Cosgrove