The Schuyler County Historical Society is marking the birth anniversary of artist Capt. James Hope with a special exhibit and talk at the Brick Tavern Museum in Montour Falls.
Hope was a talented artist of multiple styles who established a studio and art gallery in the upper reaches of today’s Watkins Glen State Park in 1872. While his Civil War depictions are viewed by thousands every year at the Antietam National Battlefield Visitors Center Museum in Maryland, his landscapes, particularly of the Watkins Glen gorge, are especially enchanting to all who see them.
Hope was born in Scotland 200 years ago on Nov. 29, 1818. The Historical Society is marking the anniversary of his birth with a special exhibit featuring original Hope pieces, including two owned by the Society: “Rainbow Falls” and “The Ramble.”
The exhibit, “The Life and Work of Watkins Glen Painter Capt. James Hope,” opens on Tuesday, Nov. 6, and will be in place through February. The Brick Tavern Museum is located at 108 N. Catharine St./Route 14, Montour Falls.
On Nov. 10, Tony Ingraham, author and retired New York State Parks environmental educator, will speak about Hope. His free presentation will be on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 1 p.m. at the Museum.
Hope lived in Canada, Vermont and New York City before moving to Watkins Glen, where he lived until his death in 1892. He served as a captain in the Second Vermont Regiment in the Civil War as a scout and mapmaker. After the war, Hope used his sketches of battle scenes for a series of five large paintings.
The paintings were first exhibited in Hope’s gallery at the top of the Watkins Glen gorge. After his death, the gallery was closed and fell into disrepair. The 1935 flood destroyed much of Hope’s work and severely damaged the battle paintings.
The paintings eventually were purchased and exhibited in Irelandville, until their ultimate sale to the National Park Service. After restoration, the paintings were hung in the Antietam Visitors Center Museum, where they can be seen today.
For more information about the Hope exhibit or presentation, call the Historical Society at 607-535-9741.
The Schuyler County Historical Society celebrates and honors the history of the county at the Brick Tavern Museum, Wickham Rural Life Center and Lee School. Hours at the Brick Tavern Museum and Wickham Rural Life Center are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday 2-8 p.m. Admission is free. The Historical Society is supported in part by a TAP grant administered by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.