Throughout the years, the Berkshires have been home to a long list of dignitaries and cultural icons. Near the top of this illustrious list is Daniel Chester French, one of the United States’ foremost sculptors of public monuments. His country home, Chesterwood, is a 25-minute drive from Staveleigh House and offers wonderful insights into the man and his work.
While many folks may not recognize the name Daniel Chester French, all undoubtedly know the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C., one of his greatest accomplishments. French—whose other works include the famous Minute Man Statue in Concord, Massachusetts—was born in 1850 and lived and worked in New York. But he was inspired by the beauty of the Berkshire hills, and so in 1896, he purchased a 122 acre-farm in the small hamlet of Glendale, near Stockbridge, Massachusetts. It became his family’s summer residence, and his part-time studio for the remainder of his life. While in residence here, French worked on more than 200 public and private commissions.
Now known as Chesterwood, a National Trust Historic Site, the home and studio are open to the public from Memorial Day through Columbus Day weekend. Guests can visit the artist’s studio (shown at left), which houses many of the artist’s sketches and plaster models, including a prototype of the Lincoln statue (though not full size!). Be sure to also check out the permanent exhibit in the Barn Gallery, which celebrates the range of French’s work, impressive both for its massive physical proportions, as well as lasting historic significance.
4 Williamsville Road, Stockbridge, MA
Open now through October 8, 2018
Adults, $18; Seniors, $17; Military and children 13-17, $9; children under 13, free
Grounds only fee, $10
Free tours for 10 or more by advance registration
Visitors to the Staveleigh House can enjoy many wonderful historic sites, including right here in quaint Sheffield. Book a stay soon and enjoy all there is to see and do in our area!
PHOTOS COURTESY OF CHESTERWOOD