A New Surprise Discovered at Historic Hyde Hall
Hyde Hall, the magnificent mansion at the north end of Otsego Lake in Cooperstown, has a rich and storied past. After many generations of the George Clarke family living there for centuries, the mansion is still giving up some surprises.
In May, collections staff made the unexpected discovery of two Ellen Emmet Rand (1875-1941) sketches tucked in a Clarke family scrapbook in Hyde Hall’s collection.
Larry Smith, Collections Manager, uncovered the images while digitizing the scrapbook that spans roughly from 1880 to 1910. The Clarke family packed the volume with wedding announcements, personal achievements, newspaper clippings, and family photos. While examining the final pages of the scrapbook, Smith found the previously forgotten studies tucked away.
“Having admired the Ellen Emmet Rand sketches for years that we have on display in the mansion, I knew immediately what I had found," said Larry Smith. “I was astounded that a sketch by an important American portrait artist was simply tucked away in an old scrapbook.”
In the portraits, Rand, who was one of America's first famous female artists, depicts the youthful faces of two Clarkes, George and Anne Hyde in 1896. The children would have been 7 and 9 years old, respectively, when Rand took their likeness. She sketched the two separate portraits side-by-side on a single piece of paper, taking the time to jot the names of each child and signing the bottom right of the page.
“We’re thrilled to add these wonderful sketches to our collection of Ellen Emmet Rand artwork,” said Jonathan Maney, Executive Director at Hyde Hall. “She is a significant artist with an international reputation and to have her work on display adds much to our interpretation of 19th-century life at Hyde Hall.”