There are some places too precious, too historical, to ever let fall into the hands of careless owners, or to be forgotten. The home known as ‘N.C. Wyeth House’ is one such place. N.C. Wyeth is one of America’s most celebrated and revered artists. Although he tragically died in 1945, his home remains a testament to his artistic genius and tells a compelling story about the man, his family and his inspiration.
In 1911, using the proceeds from his illustrations for ‘Treasure Island’, N.C. Wyeth purchased 18 acres of land that would later serve as the site of his dream home. The land, which he deemed to be “the most glorious sight in the township,” was located on Rocky Hill in the village of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Wyeth built his dream home and studio on this land, overlooking the picturesque and fertile valley below. He could not have known at the time that he was building a home that would serve nine generations and would inspire some of the most resonant artistic pieces in American history.
During his career, N.C. Wyeth created delightful children’s story book illustrations. To all who knew him, he was a man full of life and his ‘joie de vivre’ showed in his work. Tragically, in 1945, his life was cut short in a railway crossing accident. However, the legacy of N.C. Wyeth lived on as his four children became accomplished artists. His daughter Ann was a composer and Henriette and Caroline, respected painters. Although Wyeth’s daughters were immensely talented, they would always be somewhat overshadowed by their brother Andrew who, in his own right, became one of America’s most popular and celebrated artists. Artistic greatness reigned in the Wyeth family and after the father died, the children continued to live and create in his home. One of Andrew Wyeth’s most famous prints, ‘Christina’s World’ depicted their neighbor Christina, who suffered from dehabilitating paralysis, sitting in a nearby field staring at their home.
Following the death of N.C. Wyeth’s daughter Carolyn, the home and studio that so many Wyeth generations had loved was donated to the Brandywine Museum by Andrew and Jamie Wyeth. Since that time, both the house and the studio have been restored to their original state, complete with authentic artifacts and equipment that N.C. Wyeth himself would have used. Today, fans of the Wyeth family can visit the Brandywine museum and take a tour of N.C. Wyeth’s house and studio. The tour provides interesting facts about the Wyeth family and includes illustrations and other works of art by the various Wyeth family members.
There is no better way to experience the life and work of N.C. Wyeth and his family than visiting their restored house and studio at the Brandywine Museum. People of all ages can experience a walk into history as they tour the sites that inspired the artistic genius of one of America’s best loved families, the Wyeths.
- by Dan Woods