Author Topic: SR&RL Railway Shown in Beautiful Stanley Steamer Painting  (Read 7974 times)

Glenn Byron

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SR&RL Railway Shown in Beautiful Stanley Steamer Painting
« on: April 23, 2010, 11:37:26 PM »
A chance encounter at the local post office the other day netted a viewing of a beautiful painting. A local auctioneer, knowing my association with The Stanley Museum, asked if I'd like to see a painting just consigned from a prominent Central Maine estate. In the back of a SUV, we unwrapped a moving blanket and my eyes just about fell out! Probably the most fantastic view I've ever seen of a 1915 Stanley Steamer parked along side the rippling Carrabassett River just north of Kingfield with the SR&RL Narrow Gauge tracks just showing in view. I went to Kingfield last night for our usual steam car workshop and couldn't resist riding up Route 27 past town just to see if I could replicate the scene.  Sure enough, just north of the MDOT Garage, the spot is right there today!  The guard rail, as seen in the painting, still protects travelers from the cascading stream and right alongside the highway to the left is the old ROW of SR&RL Railway, now a camp road, running parallel to the road. I'm no art critic, but several of us think this is an old photograph that has been hand painted over to create a fantastic scene. The size is about 24X20. As I write, I'm trying to get this piece of history included in the Stanley Museum Auction on July 9 in Kingfield. This summer lots of steam cars will be around as a national tour along the Maine Coast has 48 cars already signed up. Many of them will be in Kingfield, the birthplace of the Stanley Twins, for a gala party and auction preview June 8. This painting will be the center of attraction, I hope.

Glenn Byron

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Re: SR&RL Railway Shown in Beautiful Stanley Steamer Painting
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2010, 10:24:05 PM »
UPDATE--- 2nd try to get this right.  When we received watermarked close up pictures to study closely, I determined the vehicle pictured was not a first edition condensing Stanley like I thought.  After consulting with several well known authorities, the conclusion is that it is a 1915 Oakland Model 37 Speedster, still a very desirable car, but not a Stanley.  This picture type is called a "Hand Colored Photograph" usually done on glass negatives in the late 1800's to early 1900's. There is a whole Ebay section for this. We have not determined who the artist is yet, but several who have seen it say it is one of the largest views they have seen.  The owner has decided to allow it in to The Stanley Museum Auction on July 9.  Right now it hangs on my living room wall, and gosh, I wish it could remain there.  I'm going to try another time to post a picture below, but I don't seem to do very well at this.  Glenn
« Last Edit: May 08, 2010, 10:26:12 PM by Glenn Byron »

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: SR&RL Railway Shown in Beautiful Stanley Steamer Painting
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2010, 12:00:18 PM »
Glenn,  Thanks for posting the picture.  Sure is nice, especially with the SR&RL track on the right.  The image reminds me of the old Wallace Nutting hand colored photos from the early 1900's. 
Stewart

Glenn Byron

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Re: SR&RL Railway Shown in Beautiful Stanley Steamer Painting
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2010, 08:25:52 PM »
Thanks, Stewart.  I've not heard of Wallace Nutting previously, but like I said, this is a whole new world for me.  If you or others know more about his work, please let me know.  At this point, I don't believe this piece was done from a glass negative. At least one person told me that something called a "Studio Camera" was used to take the B/W photo this size.  Close up photos reveal lots of dust inside the glass, so we are kinda hoping that the successful bidder will take the wrapping paper glued to the back off to do a thorough cleaning.  This is a pristine original piece and the owner has decided not to open it at this time.  Probably there are clues inside to reveal the identity of the artist.  I've studied it hard with a magnifying glass but find no hidden initials yet. We are studying the 1915 Maine porcelain plate # 787 to try for more information.  Richard Fraser of Poland, ME.,a well known author, is trying to help.  The mountains in the background are painted in.  If you are the camera person, those mountains are really behind you, further up the valley like Sugarloaf and Bigelow where the SR&RL Ralway ended.  I'm having fun learning as we go along here.  Feel free to join in if you have something to add.  Glenn

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: SR&RL Railway Shown in Beautiful Stanley Steamer Painting
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2010, 01:03:34 PM »
Glenn,  Here's a little info on Wallace Nutting and the production of colorized photographs.  

Nutting was born in Massachusetts in 1861 but moved to Maine in 1864 when his father died in the Civil War.  He went to high school in Augusta, then went on to study Theology at Harvard and Hartford Theological Seminary.  He became a Congregational Minister in 1893.  After serving for a few years as a pastor, his doctor advised him to ride a bicycle to improve his health.  In 1899 he started taking long bicycle rides.  He liked the beauty of the countryside and took his camera along to make images.  When he showed the photographs to his friends, they liked the scenes and asked for prints.  He soon decided to improve his work by adding color.  His hand colored photographs became well known and he opened his first studio in NY in 1904.  He later moved his studio to MA.  He owned colonial era farms in Southbury, CT and Framingham, MA and used the homes as sets to make images.  At his peak production he employed over 200 printers and colorists.  The photographs varied from outdoor views of fields, ponds and streams with birch trees, to interior views with models depicting colonial era life.   It has been estimated that he took over 15,000 photographs, mostly in New England and that over 2 million color versions were produced.  In the first two decades of the 20th century colorized photographs became so popular that other artists such as Fred Thompson copied Nutting's technique and produced works in the same style.  I have a few of Nutting photographs and they still look good after 100 years of hanging on the wall.   The Kingfield photograph is beautiful, it looks like a Nutting print although I doubt there would be an automobile in one of his views.  
« Last Edit: May 13, 2010, 01:11:56 PM by Stewart Rhine »

Glenn Byron

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Re: SR&RL Railway Shown in Beautiful Stanley Steamer Painting
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2010, 02:51:42 PM »
We all love a good mystery, and I'm having a great time exploring the who and what of this great piece.  I sure hope many folks can enjoy a peek at it either at the Stanley Museum Auction Preview on July 8th in Kingfield or in my home while I greedily enjoy it on my living room wall. It's about 95 years old and out and available for the first time in a long time.  Contact me by email if you are going to be in the Belgrade Lakes area.  Thanks for the background info.  I'm betting whoever did this large piece was influenced somehow by Mr. Nutting.

Glenn Byron

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Re: SR&RL Railway Shown in Beautiful Stanley Steamer Painting
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2010, 10:08:24 PM »
UPDATE:  I own it!  Now I need to learn how to proceed next. Anyone know anything about acid free preservation?  I'm not in any hurry but intend to open it up, clean the dust, and reseal to make it last the best I can.  Along the way maybe learn a little more about its past.  Watch along the Maine Coast this week as "The Come Steam With ME Again 2010" Tour will be puffing around with about 40-45 steamers enjoying our state.

Duncan Mackiewicz

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Re: SR&RL Railway Shown in Beautiful Stanley Steamer Painting
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2010, 08:43:42 PM »
Glenn,

In photography, acid free preservation starts with special acid free print paper. I'm not too familiar with what you have purchased.  However,if there is any paper other than the picture itself involved in the framed print, it should be changed out for acid free paper I would suspect.  An accomplished framer should be able to give you some better advice.

Duncan

Steve Smith

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Re: SR&RL Railway Shown in Beautiful Stanley Steamer Painting
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2010, 12:22:10 PM »
Quote
Watch along the Maine Coast this week as "The Come Steam With ME Again 2010" Tour will be puffing around with about 40-45 steamers enjoying our state.

As of Tues. 7/14 the tour group was staying at the Country Inn in Camden. A member told me a trip to Boothbay was on the agenda for Wed. 7/15, but it's raining so maybe that's off?

I'll try to insert a photo I took of one of the Stanleys.

Glenn Byron

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Re: SR&RL Railway Shown in Beautiful Stanley Steamer Painting
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2010, 08:28:05 PM »
A Gentleman's Speedy Roadster was the term used for this one, probably of 1909 vintage.  Riding in high style back in the day, if you were lucky enough to get one.  FE or FO Stanley probably met you in the yard at Newton, MA, questioned you to see if you were worthy, and took your money, no financing here. Great shot!