During the summer of 2012, Hearthside hosted a photography exhibit, Color & Light: Early 20th Century Portraits of Hearthside, which was later nationally recognized with a “Leadership in History Award” given by the American Association for State and Local History, as well as written up in an article in the National Endowment for the Arts magazine. The exhibit booklet for the event was also given an honor by the New England Museum Association with a Publications Award. The beauty of Hearthside was captured 100 years ago in a new photographic process at the time known as “hand-colored photography.”
Fifty photographs by nationally-renowned photographer David Davidson and Rufus Waterman, a lesser known photographer who emulated Davidson’s work, had recently been discovered in their original pristine condition by descendants of the Talbot family, who were living at Hearthside at the time. With a grant from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, Friends of Hearthside was able to mat and frame the artwork and hosted a major exhibit featuring these extraordinary pieces, displayed in the same locations in which they were taken between 1907 and 1912.
For the first time, a glimpse of what the rooms in this home looked like was available. In addition to the photographs, the exhibit also included displays of Davidson’s original box style camera and artifacts from his Providence studio, and even the shawl worn in many of the photographs. The Color & Light exhibit was a unique blend of art and history. While the artifacts were on loan from the Davidson family and have been returned, the 50 photographs that were donated to Hearthside by the Talbot family remain in our collection.