12 January 2011

Farmington Resident Donates Painting to the Museum

Members and guests at the recent Farmington Historical Society annual meeting and pot luck dinner were surprised to learn that an important acquisition was being donated to the museum.  Farmington Resident Dave Aubert, an auctioneer and antiques dealer, recently purchased an original oil painting by 19th Century artist Martha Safford, and donated it to the Historical Society.   Society President, Dottie Bean, thanked Aubert for his generosity and his sincere intentions to have important historic aritfacts housed in the area where they originated.  The painting will be hung in the museum where all can enjoy it.

Foster's Daily Democrat ran an article about the donation on November 25th.

Martha A. Hayes Safford
US Archives, Women of Strafford County, from the book New Hampshire Women, The New Hampshire Publishing Company, COncord, NH  1895.
Not often are towns able to retain the more distinguished of their daughters to the years of their womanly prime, but this good fortune is given to Farmington by Mrs. Safford, the well-known artist.  She is a daughter of Israel and Anne (Edgerly) Hayes, and descended from notable people of whom one was Col. Thomas Tash of the Revolution.  At the age of eighteen she was married to James Fearing Safford, formerly of Maine, a veteran of the Civil War.  One son, now arrived at manhood, blesses the happy union.  Inheriting refined and artistic tastes, and encouraged by her husband, she devoted close attention to painting and crayon portraiture, under excellent teachers, for the years succeeding her marriage, and has become one of the best instructors in her specialties, in New Hampshire, and one of the Granite state.  She sketches from nature almost invariably, and adds to her unusually correct drawing a fine sense of the fitness of things, and an enviable eye for color.With the magic of her brush, a scene which has pleased us is set again before us, in outline true, and in its own beauty of tint; still may we feel the charm of flower and leaf, the glowing sphere from the willing tree, and the lesser globe and oval, from shrubs here and there invite us, and still does the fruit of the vine hold the delicacy of its virgin bloom; while every accessory of a picture has received its meed of attention from the conscientious artist.  Yet not through all these comes her chief pleasure, for more than the simple delight of the eye is the recalling of the features of those whom we "have loved long since, yet lost awhile," in which Mrs. Safford is especially gifted, working often from the faint shadows of some old and imperfect portrait, and completing a likeness which is priceless. Any good artist may portray well from life, but one whose intuition of the spirit is allied to the skill of eye and hand offers to us the gift of
genius. 
Martha died on 9 October 1912 in Rochester, New Hampshire, according to the 1917 Rochester City Directory. 





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