These "Then and Now" photos place focus on the long-unchanged 3rd Floor American Decorative Arts Gallery at the Worcester Art Museum. Sincere hope and precognitive intuition leads me to believe that this area may receive some much-needed curatorial attention in the not-too-distant future. It is a semi-prime space, filled with wondrous objects, and likely wouldn't require a complete overhaul… just a modest and thoughtful rearrangement.
-The first photo, from 1910, shows a wide-ranging line of paintings across the west wall… from 18th Century British to early-20th Century American (from William Hogarth to Frank Benson). It looks as though there might be an older Dutch portrait displayed as well. Some of the 8 upholstered benches are still in use, over 100 years later, spread out on the Renaissance Court balcony and in the European Galleries. The same spot today finds the viewer encircled by Revere Silver and facing a framed view of Whistler's mistress, "Arrangement in Black and Brown (The Fur Jacket)".
-The second composition shows the difference between natural and artificial light in the room, with the photos being both before and after the perimeter skylight was removed in 2005. The angle varies slightly, because a display case of lovely Native American basketry was added to the wall behind the camera sometime after 2004.
-The sketch depicts a Rococo-style silver coffee pot from the masterful and elegant "Paine Service", created by Paul Revere in 1773. The set was commissioned by Dr. William Paine of Worcester as a gift for his new bride, Lois Orne.