NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 12, 2014

Presentation on Celia Thaxter at Whittier Home

AMESBURY — Author, photographer and filmmaker Peter E. Randall will present a program on Celia Thaxter at the Whittier Home Association’s annual dinner meeting on Thursday, April 3, at the Union Congregational Church, 350 Main St., Amesbury.

Following dinner, the group will move into the church sanctuary for a brief business meeting and the evening’s featured program by Randall, who recently completed a new documentary featuring Celia Thaxter’s beautiful garden on Appledore Island, off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine.

Nineteenth-century Isles of Shoals poet and author Celia Thaxter was known for her imaginative Victorian island garden, and John Greenleaf Whittier was among her close friends and encouraged her writing career.

With more than 45 years of experience, Peter E. Randall is one of New Hampshire’s best known editorial photographers. He published more than 450 books and is the author of 14 books, nine of which feature his photographs. He has also published photo essays on Portsmouth N.H., and Newburyport, Salem, and Marblehead, as well as volumes on the Isles of Shoals and Celia Thaxter.

Thaxter’s friend, impressionist Childe Hassam, prepared illustrations for her last book, “An Island Garden,” published in 1894, just before her death. Based on her book, the unique garden has been recreated on Appledore Island and now attracts hundreds of visitors annually.

Randall’s film tells the story of Thaxter and her garden, her friendship with Hassam and other artists, and the effort made by Shoals Marine Laboratory founder Dr. John Kingsbury to recreate the garden 80 years after Thaxter’s death.

Social time begins at 5:30 p.m. with dinner served at 6 p.m. The home prepared dinner menu includes salad, stuffed chicken breast, rice pilaf, roasted vegetables and squash topped off by strawberry shortcake. A vegetarian choice is available on request.

Donation of $16 per dinner is requested as well as advance reservations. For reservations call 978-388-1337 before March 25. Two-thirds of the cost of each ticket supports Union Church to help maintain their historic structure.

The program will start at 7 p.m., is free of charge and open to all. A freewill donation is requested.

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