Art at Cleveland Place

Our historic home has fine art, well-crafted furnishings, and historic items that contribute to its unique atmosphere. Some are family heirlooms, and some are acquired from Maritime artists; each one makes Cleveland Place a little more special for us -- and for you. We take some time every so often to highlight one or two objects and tell a little about them.

Two Views of Waterside, by Carolyn Towles

These two paintings show an instantly recognizable shore close to Alma -- Waterside Beach.

Acrylic on canvas

Two Drowned Rats, by J. Hiscox

From local (now defunct) gallery Joie de Vivre comes this unusual and memorable painting. Jane tells the full story here of how she found and acquired it. Hanging in the private office at Cleveland Place, this charming memento mori overlooks Steve and Jane as they conduct daily business.

Acrylic on canvas

Musquash Harbour, by Rodney MacKay

Nineteen kilometres west of Saint John, Musquash is one of the last fully functioning estuaries (a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea) in the Bay of Fundy, in one of the most biologically productive natural settings in Atlantic Canada.

Rod MacKay's painting of the rocky coast shows some of the rugged and chilly beauty of this area in what looks like wintertime.

Acrylic on canvas

Stained glass transom, by Max Bowron

In the 1970s, Cleveland Place was owned and operated by Maxwell and Marjorie Bowron; Max and Jane's dad were cousins. Max was a skilled and talented worker in several media, including fabric arts and stained glass. Upstairs in the guest hallway, Max created a striking glass window, highlighting a bright white Fundy scallop shell design. When the afternoon sun streams through it, the walls are painted with bright and cheerful colours.

Lead and glass

The Moosehorn at Norton, by Rodney MacKay

New Brunswick has over sixty covered bridges, including the longest one in the world -- more than anywhere else in the Maritimes. The nearest one is just ten minutes away from Cleveland Place's front door, in Fundy National Park. The Moosehorn Bridge shown here was built in 1915. It crosses Moosehorn Brook in Norton Township, about an hour from Alma. No longer used for traffic, it's still open for walking through or admiring from a distance.

Bridges are covered in this part of the country to protect them from the sun, rain, ice, and snow. This prolongs the life of the bridge, and many are still preserved though now bypassed by bigger and faster roads.

Longtime family friend Rodney MacKay painted this bridge, a well-known landmark and beautiful scene in nearby Kings County.

Acrylic on canvas

Bridge to West Arlington, by Wallace E. Van Keuren

When your hosts Steve and Jane married in 1981, they honeymooned at a bed & breakfast called "Grandmother's House" in Vermont. Accessed through a traditional covered bridge and next door to an old clapboard church, it was a lovely place run by a very grandmotherly lady. Years later, Steve found a tourism poster showing this very place (Grandmother's House is just out of the picture, to the left of the church). He bought it, framed it, and gave it to Jane for a birthday gift. It still hangs at Cleveland Place, although in the private quarters.

Print of oil painting

Forest Walk, by Rachel Jones

A US Midwestern artist, an acquaintance of both Steve and Jane, painted this in the 1980s. A couple walking towards the woods in the light of evening, it's very reminiscent of Jane's mum and dad, out behind where they once lived in New England.

Watercolour on paper

Portrait of Elizabeth Irvine, by an unknown artist c. 1800

Jane Chrysostom, your hostess at Cleveland Place, has roots in south-eastern New Brunswick that go back to the mid-nineteenth century. One of the earliest branches on that tree was Elizabeth Irvine, whose portrait as a child, shown here, is still in the family.

The story goes that itinerant portrait artists of the time would travel with already-painted bodies and backgrounds on their canvases. They could then select an appropriate one for the sitter and quickly create a good likeness. This shortcut allowed them to get more work done faster, maximizing their sales in each town. This portrait, we believe, was one such -- the face and personality of the young Elizabeth Irvine, but the stiff fancy dress of someone else.

Many years later, her descendant Wallace West hung her portrait on the wall, and there it remains to this day. She's Jane's great-great-grandmother.

Oil on canvas

Professionally restored in 1999

Huginn and Muninn, by Rod Mackay

One of the many names of Odin, the Norse father-god, is "Hrafnagud," or the "Raven God." Every day Odin sends his two ravens out at dawn, and they fly all over the world before returning at evening, to perch on his shoulders and tell him all that they saw and heard. Thus Odin knows all that transpires in the world of men and of gods.

The ravens are named Huginn and Muninn, Norse for "thought" and "memory." In a passage from the Norse epic poem "Grímnismál" Odin wisely notes the value he places on the richness of memories over mere intellect:

Huginn and Muninn fly each day

over the spacious earth.

I fear for Huginn, that he come not back,

yet more anxious am I for Muninn.

Rodney Mackay has been painting scenes of the Atlantic Maritimes for many years. In this unusual work he's captured two ravens sitting on a New Brunswick roof, and staged them as these messengers of ancient legend. You can also see their names, in authentic runes, as is Mackay's name.

Acrylic on wooden board

Mother and Child, by Lola Tod Wheeler

A dual portrait of Jane and our youngest daughter, by an artist and good friend in the American Midwest. Created as a part of a group portraiture project, this work was first exhibited in Omaha, Nebraska in 1990. The following year, Steve purchased it for Jane as a Christmas gift, and it's been in our home ever since.

Acrylic/collage on canvas

Stained Glass by Pat Marshall

On your way up the staircase to the guest rooms, there's a small landing, with a window looking out to the east. The top half of the window is a gorgeous collage of New Brunswick birds and flowers. Created by our friend Pat Marshall in nearby Harvey, this panel brightens this area every day.

Lead and glass

stained glass window