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Theme Four: A Sense of Place: The Artistic Rediscovery of New England

The works created in Old Lyme capture a sense of place distinct to the region and to southern New England.

Although the Old Lyme artists drew upon their knowledge of European art, they also found inspiration, and refuge, in subjects suggestive of America’s past which were in abundance in the village of Old Lyme, Connecticut. Views of Colonial homes, churches, old doorways, wooded bridges, enclosed gardens, rustic farms, and the surrounding countryside were all subjects favored by the painters of the colony. After the Centennial Celebration at the 1876 World’s Fair in Philadelphia, Americans, and particularly New Englanders, became obsessed with the nation’s Colonial legacy. The Colonial Revival movement impacted architecture as well as fine and decorative arts as many Americans looked to the past to find relief from stress brought about by rapid urban and industrial development, waves of immigration, and other aspects of a changing modern world. Artists were drawn to Old Lyme in part because of its rural and historic character. The subject they depicted appealed to collectors who found solace in the imagery of the New England village and landscape.


Related Student Learning Goals

Students will understand, select, and apply media, techniques and processes.

(Visual Arts Content Standard 1: Media)

Students will understand and apply elements and organizational principles of art.

(Visual Arts Content Standard 2: Elements and Principles)

Students will consider, select, and apply a range of subject matter, symbols and ideas.

(Visual Arts Content Standard 3: Content)

Students will understand the visual arts in relation to history and cultures.

(Visual Arts Content Standard 4: History and Cultures)

Students will reflect upon, describe, analyze, interpret and evaluate their own and others’ work.

(Visual Arts Content Standard 5: Analysis, Interpretation, and Evaluation)

Students will make connections between the visual arts, other disciplines and daily life.

(Visual Arts Content Standard 6: Connections)

Students will develop historical thinking skills, including chronological thinking and recognizing change over time; contextualizing, comprehending and analyzing historical literature; researching historical sources; understanding the concept of historical causation; understanding competing narratives and interpretation; and constructing narratives and interpretation.

(Social Studies Content Standard 1: Historical Thinking)

Students will recognize the continuing importance of historical thinking and historical knowledge in their own lives and in the world in which they live.

(Social Studies Content Standard 4: Applying History)

Students will use spatial perspective to identify and analyze the significance of physical and cultural characteristics of place and world regions.

(Social Studies Content Standard 9: Places and Regions)


There are several sections of The Fox Chase site where students can investigate Theme 4: A Sense of Place: The Artistic Rediscovery of New England.

Go to The Griswold House for information regarding the history of the house and Griswold family.

Go to The Cow for information regarding the artists’ interest in painting images of small farms and livestock.

Go to American Impressionism for information regarding the style of painting most popular during the later years (after 1903) of the Lyme Art Colony.

Go to The Landscape of Old Lyme for information regarding the geological history of the region.

Go to The Village of Old Lyme for information regarding the economic development of the village.


There are several sections of In Situ: The Painted Panels site where students can investigate Theme 4: A Sense of Place: The Artistic Rediscovery of New England.

Go to Landscape with Oxen by Jules Turcas for a great example of a panel painted in a Tonalist style.

Go to White Cottage in Autumn by Woodhull Adams for a great example of a panel painted that features a Colonial home as subject matter.

Go to Winter Twilight – Grazing Sheep by Carleton Wiggins for a great example of a panel painted that features farm animals as subject matter.

Go to Landscape by William S. Robinson for information about his panel portraying a typical homestead in Old Lyme.

Go to Whippoorwill Road by Clark Voorhees for information about a panel showing a local scene in Old Lyme.


There are several sections of Resources for Educators site where students can investigate Theme 4: A Sense of Place: The Artistic Rediscovery of New England.

Go to Movie House to view all of the vintage film footage available from the Lyme Artists reels.