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The 1892 Grand Drape Stage Curtain Rises

On Thursday and Friday (June 8 and 9) Conservationists from Curtains without Borders in Vermont arrived to repair and protect our Gand Drape painted by CA Henry an itinerant painter in 1892.  Our drape is perhaps one of Henry’s oldest in the Northeast.

This project was first investigated many years ago by Erny Swanson who contacted Christine Hadsel, Director.  Linda Richardson picked up the project when we needed to take the curtain down to repair the upstairs walls.  

In just two days the curtain was cleaned, repaired and rehung on the new structure built by MIke Brogan and his crew. (Peter Roy, Jeff Richardson,Chris Losso, John Jermyn, Mike Black). Volunteers Janet Brogan and Rosemary Losso assisted in the cleaning, and repair.  Other volunteers who helped were:  Jan Thomson who hosted the visitors in her home, Cheryl Jermyn and Linda Richardson.

The process was fascinating and tedious as new material was carefully added to the perimeter of the 130 year old canvas. Visible holes in the painting were carefully repaired from the back. The Conservator painted the edges that would show.  It took a crew of six to smooth out the creases and roll up the drape as it was painted. Note that the painting itself was not repainted.   Conservation never covers up original artwork.  

Hanging this 18 footlong rolled drape was a bit of a challenge on a stage that was neither level nor plumb.   But under Christine’s guidance, we succeeded in getting it done.  It will remain down for the summer to let the paint cure, and the creases relax.  When funding is secured, stage and ceiling work will begin and the curtain will be taken down and stored again.

The stage “ears” which were planned to be repainted are in very rough shape. Christine determined they could not be done at this time.  She suggested that local painters do the chore.  

This has long been a hoped for project.  Linda Richardson and MIke Brogan were integral in getting it done.  Thanks to everyone who participated. 

Join us on July 1st at the Community BBQ for the official unveiling of the curtain!