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Item of the Week: The Gardiner Manor by Alfred Waud, 1875

Wed, 05/15/2024 - 20:07

From the East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection

Between the twin forks of eastern Long Island, north of Springs, lies Gardiner’s Island, a piece of land owned and inhabited by the same family since 1639. The Gardiners built a large manor house there in 1774, and Alfred R. Waud (1828-1891) drew it 101 years later.

Waud was acclaimed for his sketches, which were often made en plein air. He worked under the title of “special artist,” a role similar to today’s photojournalist. Doing so offered him press privileges, and he became known for his drawings from the battlefields of the Civil War, capturing the horrors of Gettysburg and Bull Run. Harper’s Weekly and The New York Illustrated News employed him as a staff artist.

After the close of the Civil War, Harper’s Weekly sent Waud to travel the country for the publication. In 1875, during one of these trips, he visited the East End, sketching Sag Harbor, Shelter Island, and Gardiner’s Island.

On Gardiner’s Island he drew scenes of the lighthouse, windmill, cemetery, and cliffs, in addition to the pastoral view of the second manor house featured here. It was done on cream-colored paper in pencil and a paint made of zinc oxide. The house burned down in 1947 and was replaced by the current one.

Images of the manor houses of Gardiner’s Island will be part of a one-day pop-up exhibition tonight from 4 to 7 in the East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection. Stop by and join us for our second such drop-in pop-up program.


Moriah Moore is a former librarian and archivist in the East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection.

 

 

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