Friday, November 2, 2012

19th Century Landscape Painting Found in the Attic

Old landscape painting by Alfred Cookman Leach

We all have our favorite old things, old dishware, silverware, old paintings. I have always loved 19th century landscape paintings, perhaps I've been looking at the one on the right for over 50 years. 

The painting features a man herding sheep on a cold, wintery day and was painted by Alfred Cookman Leach, a descendant of John Penn (a signer of the Declaration of Independence). Alfred Cookman Leach was an architect who had a hand in the design of Baltimore, Maryland's Revolutionary Monument in Mount Royal Plaza. He also designed a home at the north east corner of Saint Paul Street and 31st Street in Baltimore. 

The painting is signed, "C Leach."

I remember, when I was young, my mother and I laughing at magazine articles that featured beautiful old things that people found in their attics or basements. How could that be, it sounded ridiculous. Yet my home is filled with the artifacts of my ancestors. Nearly everything in my living room once belonged to a dead person. 

Alfred Cookman Leach on the Right
The old things are beautiful, yet are significant with memory. The old trunk, the furniture, the chairs, and books were handled by people that I never met. I touch the things my ancestors touched. I feel the gentle spirit of Alfred. I can see what Alfred wanted people to see, how he saw things and interpreted things. I never met Alfred, yet here is a representation of him here with  me always, remembered in a way that I imagine he would want to be remembered with fondness as I sit in my kitchen trying to paint landscapes that just look old, that remind me of a man long gone.

(For more on this painting and Alfred Cookman Leach, you can read my story by clicking this link)

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