Published: July 14, 2016
NORWALK, CONN. — The Norwalk Historical Society (NHS) has several exhibitions that explore the city’s history on view at the society’s museum in the City Hall complex.
“Norwalk Collects: Unifying Four Historic Collections” celebrates the collections of the Norwalk Historical Society, the Norwalk-Village Green chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Lockwood Family Collection and the Norwalk Museum both as gifts to or long term agreements with the Norwalk Historical Society.
Also on view in “Eating Off the Landscape: The Farrington-Lockwood Dessert Service” is a French porcelain dessert service originally belonging to William Rogers Farrington (1831–1910). Both exhibits were organized for the NHS by guest curator Elizabeth Pratt Fox, a museum and historic site consultant.
“Norwalk Collects” gives the visitor a sense of who the collecting organizations were, why and what they collected. Of the approximately 5,900 nonarcheological objects in these collections, Fox chose 30, as well as photographs and archeological shards, that give the visitor a glimpse into the range of the collections.
The exhibition includes an Eighteenth Century high chest from Woodbury, a trade sign in the shape of spectacles, two rare needlework samplers made by boys, a redware bowl from the Smith Street Pottery and a painted World War I helmet. In addition, there is supporting material such as an illustrated Lockwood family tree, a photo frame “album” and a set of archeological discovery drawers. Photographs from the Norwalk History Room at the Norwalk Public Library are part of the supporting material.
In “Eating Off the Landscape,” visitors will note the service is decorated with English scenes and famous buildings, including St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and Windsor Castle. The compotes, serving dishes and dessert plates descended into the Lockwood family of Norwalk through Farrington’s daughter, Mabel and her marriage to Manice deForest Lockwood Jr. Farrington was a china and glass dealer in France, England and Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Family history records that the set was given to Farrington by the porcelain manufacturers in Limoges in appreciation of his business over many years. Each piece of the 25-piece dessert set is dated April 1, 1873, and bears Farrington’s initials. The service was given to the city of Norwalk by Lockwood.
“I hope that the visitor will be as charmed with the pieces as I was when I first discovered them in storage. Their beautifully painted landscapes and decorative border represent fine china painting at its best,” said Fox. Visitors can also play a guessing game of “Can You Find Me?” where the visitor will be given a hint about the building and asked to find the corresponding plate. They can also pick up a recipe card for pound cake, a dessert originating in Eighteenth Century England.
The Norwalk Historical Society Museum at City Hall is at 141 East Avenue. For more information, or 203-846-0525 or norwalkhistoricalsociety.org.
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