Around the Island

Sylvester Manor: “A Place in Pictures”

Historic photo of Sylvester Manor from the collection of Sylvester Manor Educational Farm.
Historic photo of Sylvester Manor from the collection of Sylvester Manor Educational Farm.

Sylvester Manor Educational Farm’s upcoming 2018 exhibition, “A Place in Pictures,” showcases photographs and paintings from the non-profit organization’s collection.

The show will open June 1 and it illustrates the use of images to portray life at Sylvester Manor during the time of the Horsford family in the 19th century through the 20th century when Alice and Andrew Fiske lived at the Manor.

From the invention of photography with the Daguerreotype in 1839, Professor Eben N. Horsford was fascinated with the new medium. He opened the first Daguerreotype studio in Albany in 1841 and throughout his years of teaching and living with his family in Cambridge, MA he kept abreast of new technological developments in photography. He and his family sat for numerous studio portraits utilizing new methods from Tintypes to Carte de Vistes and Cabinet Cards to the use of glass negatives and paper prints.

But it was at Sylvester Manor that the Horsfords used photography the most to portray their life at the Manor and the place itself.

Throughout the years, in images of the Manor, house, gardens, grounds and the people who lived and visited it, Sylvester Manor was portrayed as a place of memory with its long history honored and memorialized.

This tradition was continued by Prof. Horsford’s youngest daughter, Cornelia, herself a talented watercolorist and photographer. She employed photographers to come to Sylvester Manor to photograph the place using new techniques such as a Panoramic camera and the latest innovations in color photography.

During the 20th century, Alice Fiske used photographs to portray her beloved gardens while her husband Andrew photographed the Manor and grounds from up above on top of the water tower to the inner workings of the windmill and farm.

The exhibition, “A Place in Pictures” will be on view at the Sylvester Manor house for the 2018 season and will open with a cocktail reception on Friday June 1, 2018 from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets are available for $65 online or $75 at the door.

Public guided house tours will be offered from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturdays, June 2, July 7, September 8 and September 29. Tickets are $25. Self-guided tours are available in July and August on Thursdays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. $10. No reservations necessary.

Private guided tours are available on weekdays through November 14. The cost is $150 for up to five people or $30 per person for groups of six or more.

To book a private tour or find out more, contact curator and archivist, Donnamarie Barnes at [email protected]