Agecroft Hall / sketch and photos

Parts of the house are 500 years old.

Parts of the house are 500 years old.

It’s an English Tudor Manor house, bought in 1925 by a Richmonder, Thomas Williams Jr., disassembled in Lancashire England and shipped to Richmond VA, and reassembled here. Some of it is modern construction materials, but I can’t tell where the old part ends and the modern part joins to it.

This sketch is the side view, seen from across the sunken garden. I have to redraw this, and make some corrections before I can transfer it to canvas.

The shady side of the house has the most ornamental woodwork.

The shady side of the house has the most ornamental woodwork.

This photo shows what they call Wattle and Daub.

This photo shows what they call Wattle and Daub.

There’s a bit of glare on the plexiglass display here, but you can see what was inside the walls in the old country.

They made a weaving of sticks and then filled it in with a combination of mud, manure, clay and straw. to build walls. The dark parts of the wall seen in the photo above are Oak beams and Oak decorative pieces in a more smooth looking modern stucco type wall.

It’s so beautiful there. It’s great to take the tour and see the inside of the house, but they don’t allow photography inside. I plan to do a couple paintings at Agecroft Hall as soon as the weather cools down a little.



The Salon of Writers and Artists

This is the Patrick Henry Pub, where the Salon took place.

This is the Patrick Henry Pub, where the Salon took place.

This poem was written by Joanna Lee.

On Hearing the History of the Poe Gardens at the Literary Salon in the Patrick Henry Pub

(based on the painting by Chris Ludke)


Nestled in a backdrop of chatter and raven windowpanes,

of sweating whiskey and melted rocks, light

plays on water and the pale of crepe,

of periwinkle. A sun plastically brightly cuts

the hard edge of a shadow that could stand

on it’s own, lonesome and unnatural.

And I remind myself this is about connection, that we,

rose-less, are a hundred variations of the same thorn.


Joanna hears her muse! You can look her up at

This is the Poe Museum.

This is the Poe Museum.

I thought the Salon was great! The 1st person to speak told the history of the Poe garden. It’s been through a lot of changes. It was interesting to hear where the different elements of the garden came from. Then Joanna read “Ode to a Grecian Urn” by Keats. and passed around a photo so you can see the little scenes, similar to the ones Keats described in flowery language, painted on the urn. A lot of writers get inspiration from visual art, and visual artists get inspiration from authors.

The writers took a break to talk to their friends, or write a poem based on the theme of the Poe gardens. Then some of them read their poems. It was good to hear the poems, and to hear them talk about truth and beauty, and art, and what I can gather about the craft of writing.

My friends at the Poe tell me they’re planning on more artist / writer salons, and other types of art events. They’re “Calling All Creatives”. The Salon is a great old idea I hope to take part in again.

The Torch Bearers by Anna Hyatt Huntington / aluminum

One of the castings sold for $315000.

One of the castings sold for $315000.

I am one of the torch bearers. My strange ironic life made me this way. Here’s a story about me.

I grew up in a family where the adults didn’t talk much. It might sound bad but I thought I was lucky because no one was paying attention so I did what I wanted to do, and if I didn’t want to go to school I didn’t go. Maybe I was a little naughty. Still lucky for me, York Academy of Art accepted anyone who would pay. It turned out to be a crash course in traditional art which isn’t taught in art schools much these days. I’m one of the few in the world with the real old school academic art background and even though I’m swimming against the current with it, I’m not part of the ruin that is modern art because I’m carrying the torch of the Academy.

In York I shared a house with other girls who were art students. Our next door neighbors were Dick and Mai Clayman. They always invited me over to eat. Mai was very kind and Dick was an artist, genius and a gentleman. Dick loved to talk and he was worldly and wise. We stayed friends till he died. His talk was like college classes about his favorite subjects. ( art, history, politics, religion, the Civil War, the opera) I liked listening to him. I should have taken notes. Dick tried to impart his wisdom to me.

Now I want to share what I remember. But here’s another thing:

Two guys I know had the same dream about me. They both told me they dreamed it was pitch black and they saw me walking in the dark carrying a light. What does it mean about me? Was it a flashlight a tiki torch or a camping lantern? I don’t know, but if I ever do a self portrait I might try to draw myself carrying a light on a dark background.

Hex Sign Pillow

A hex sign keeps bad spirits out of your barn.

A hex sign keeps bad spirits out of your barn.

It’s not easy to write about the PA. Dutch because it’s a complicated mix of religion and superstition. I’m from a PA. Dutch family but my childhood experiences might not be typical. I don’t know for sure, I left Ephrata long ago. I’m not religious or superstitious. I always liked to draw hex signs because it’s fun to spin a compass around and make a perfect circle and divide it up into a nice star then decorate it. I’ll tell you a little story I remember and if I’m wrong, please feel free to correct me as I’m not a fact checking person.

Pennsylvania was the most free of the 13 colonies because William Penn was a Quaker. William Penn’s family had a high rank in the Church Of England and they were embarrassed because they thought the Quakers were a cult. So they put William Penn in charge of this huge chunk of woods they named Pennsylvania to get him out of England. Penn said there would be ABSOLUTE freedom of religion in PA.

No witches got killed in PA until 1968. A guy living out in the country in York County accused his neighbor of hexing him and shot him. I think the Wiccan who got killed was named Rehmeyer.

A hex sign on a barn is a good thing but a witch hexing someone is bad. A witch hexed me here in VA. and I didn’t find out about it till years later. I had a good laugh about it. It’s a long story.

PA. is a little peculiar in that the PA. Dutch are non confrontational. If they don’t approve of your lifestyle they will shun you. Shunning is ignoring. If you’re from N.Y. or N.J. you might have to listen to some verbal abuse if you don’t fit in, but in PA. they just want you to go away. Shunning might sound harsh but being persecuted would be much worse. And there are so many witches there that it’s easy for them to find each other.

Now the times they are a changing. People move into Lancaster Co. from far away, and people who grew up there move out. The PA. Dutch are finding it more difficult to avoid the modern world.

Actor’s Memorial to Poe by Richard Henry Park

marble and bronze 1885

marble and bronze

My photo doesn’t do her justice. She’s just beautiful!
It was commissioned by Edwin Booth, president of the Actor’s Guild of New York. Edwin was the brother of John Wilkes Booth who killed Abraham Lincoln. It was originally at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

I wish I was a better writer so I could tell you how great the Poe Museum is. Here’s a short list of things of interest there : history (too much to learn in one visit), poetry, literature, stories of love, sadness, mystery, scary, architecture, fine art, Unhappy Hour, music

Check it out!

Edgar Allan Poe / graphite / finished drawing

I've always loved him.  (sigh)

I’ve always loved him.

Yeah, I heard he was hard to get along with. I’d still like to take him home and sew his buttons on and straighten his tie and comb his hair and make him happy. 😉 Oh well, he’s dead, but still alive in the hearts of millions.

Edgar Allan Poe / graphite

This is my study of the bust of Poe at the Poe Museum.

This is my study of the bust of Poe at the Poe Museum.

They have a call to artists for a show happening in May titled “Painting the Enchanted Garden”. It runs May 22 to July 18. I want to work on this a little more and enter it. Also I’d like to try to paint the garden.

When I was drawing this a lady working for the museum stopped to talk to me. I asked her if she knew if Poe had a broken nose because it doesn’t look straight on his bust. She didn’t know for sure but she told me he infuriated a lot of people. He was a harsh literary critic. She told me Poe accused Longfellow of plagiarism!

The Poe Museum is great! You should check it out!

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