John Howard Benson: Drawing Newport

February 25 – March 30, 2021


The Dorrance H. Hamilton Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of John Howard Benson: Drawing Newport.


This exhibition explores the City of Newport’s architectural landscape through the drawings of John Howard Benson, a lifetime resident of Aquidneck Island.  Working with pen and ink, Benson meticulously rendered a selection of thirty historic homes and prominent buildings from all areas of Newport.  These drawings were made for the Newport Daily News’ annual calendar and each marks a new calendar year from early to mid-twentieth century.  Each drawing features a single often familiar architectural site, such as the White Horse Tavern or the Old Colony House.  Through Benson’s eyes, we are transported back in time and provided a view of Newport that differs from today.  Some of the buildings depicted are no longer standing, while others belong to neighborhoods that have undergone a remarkable change.  These drawings give us a window into Newport’s evolution.


This exhibition was organized to support student research in the area of Cultural and Historic Preservation.  Professor Jeroen van den Hurk’s class on historic building documentation is currently exploring the history of sixteen buildings.  Students are learning about the architectural history of Newport and methods of interpretation and description.  They are researching the characters who lived in these buildings and the roles they played in Newport’s community.  This exhibition was made possible through a generous gift to Salve Regina University by a local Newport collection from the Sherman Publishing Company.


An online reception for John Howard Benson: Drawing Newport will take place on Thursday, March 18 at 6:00.  Anyone interested in joining is asked to contact [email protected] for a link.  The exhibition will run through March 30, 2021.


The Dorrance H. Hamilton Gallery is handicap accessible.  Due to the pandemic, its exhibits are open exclusively to the Salve community on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 to 6:00 p.m., Wednesdays and Fridays from 11:00 to 5:00 p.m.  The gallery is currently closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays.

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