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A series of spaces served as young Daniel Chester French’s studios—makeshift space in the family’s farmhouse, a room in the Concord courthouse, and a small studio in Boston. In 1879, having returned from Italy where he worked in the perfectly-equipped studio of the American sculptor Thomas Ball, he wrote to Ball’s wife Ellen: “I am going about building my [Concord] studio immediately.”
French felt that his studio must have the required aesthetic trappings. He again wrote to Ellen Ball, “I have been picking up pretty things for my studio & have shopped til I am sick of it, besides having about run through my funds. Any old rags (rich & handsome) that you see lying about Florence will be gratefully accepted!” His Concord studio workroom included shelves for casts, a turntable for works in progress, and as French himself described, “a cast of the Minute Man full size in one corner, the bust of Emerson & one of father on pedestals….” A reception room framed with yellow curtains included old furniture, a painted border and rugs, and a window seat fitted “luxuriously with different colored cushions.”
After French moved to New York City in 1886, he continued to use the Concord studio during the summers until he purchased land in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in 1896, and soon built his Chesterwood residence and studio.
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Background photo credit: Chesterwood
Photo credits: Chesterwood