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The Griswold House: Outside the Boardinghouse


Chadwick Studio

Many of the studios that long stood on the Griswold property vanished under the ravages of time. One historic barn that was used by the artists still stands behind the house, but a second one had fallen down and was rebuilt somewhat larger in 2000 to accommodate the Museum’s Hartman Education Center. In 1999, the Museum commissioned an archaeological dig of the property, which unearthed thousands of artifacts, including the buried bits and pieces of the studio used by Childe Hassam (smartly situated between the gardens and the river), along with paint drippings and the remains of a tin painter’s box.

“All the studios are unpretentiousness itself. They are comfortable and rural, and no more is desired of them.”

~ Travel Writer H.S. Adams, 1914

The William Chadwick studio


Chadwick studio interior


Harry Hoffman (1874-1966)
Childe Hassam’s Studio, 1909
Oil on canvas
Gift of the Artist

Farm structures on Griswold property


Tin paint box unearthed during archaeological dig, 1999


Near the southwest corner of the property is the studio of American Impressionist William Chadwick (1879-1962), a member of the Lyme Art Colony. Although not original to the property (the studio was moved to its present location in 1992 from elsewhere in Old Lyme), it is a demonstration of how an artist might organize his creative space. The studio has three main areas: workshop, studio, and second floor. Originally an icehouse, the workshop area is filled with tools, canvases, frames, and shipping crates. The studio portion was made homey with an area rug, wood stove, and desk with lamp. Chadwick was known to hang a sign on the studio door that read “resting” while napping on the soft daybed. It is also a practical space for painting, with the large northern window, a wide workbench for mixing pigments and organizing painting tools, and a model stand set with studio props. Chadwick was a talented figure painter as well as a landscapist, who worked in a high-key Impressionist style. His easel stands in the middle of the room, displaying one of several facsimiles of his paintings.

Easel set up in Chadwick Studio