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A Look At Life At Sylvester Manor During The 19th Century Opens 2018 Exhibitions

Olivia Rutigliano

Cornelia Horsford on the Manor grounds amongst the cedar trees. The Horsford family bought and planted the trees with the belief made popular after the deadly influenza pandemic of 1889-1890 that pine trees purify the air and guard against the disease and other respiratory ailments. Ca. 1912 - Paget Plate prints

A Place in Pictures, Sylvester Manor's first exhibition of the season, will celebrate the former residents of the Shelter Island-based Manor with photographs and paintings from the Sylvester Manor Educational Farm Collection.

The exhibition will illustrate the use of images to portray the life at the Manor during the time of the Horsford family in the 19th century when Alice and Andrew Fiske occupied the property. Professor Eben N. Horsford, fascinated with the invention of photography, opened the first Daguerreotype studio in Albany in 1841. He and his family sat for a number of portraits, utilizing many, many new methods of the medium. But it was Sylvester Manor that the family used photographs the most to portray their lives and the Manor itself.

"This is the second year we having an in-house exhibition from the collection housed in the Manor house. As a life long photographer and professionally as a photo editor and photo historian, the discoveries I have made at Sylvester Manor have delighted me," Donnamarie Barnes of Sylvester Manor shared. "From the basement to the attic, I've found photographs that range from Daguerreotypes to Polaroids."

Throughout the years, several images of the Manor, its house, gardens, grounds, and the multitude of people who passed through portrayed the historic memories of the estate. The tradition was continued by the Professor's youngest daughter, Cornelia, also a photographer. She employed photographers to come to the Manor and use new techniques, such as the Panoramic camera and color photography, to capture the beauty of the estate. During the 20th century, Alice Fiske, captured her beloved gardens and her husband, Andrew, took pictures from atop the water tower and showed the inner workings of the farm.

"Every family since the invention of the medium have kept family albums but what makes this collection from the Sylvester descendants so special is the range of the various techniques including early color processes and panoramic images found in the collection and the continuous subject matter of the place that visually tells the story of it's history," Barnes added.

A Place in Pictures will be on view at the Sylvester Manor house for the entire 2018 season and will open with a cocktail reception on Friday, June 1, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Tickets to the cocktail reception are $65 online and $75 at the door.

Public guided house tours, private guided tours and self guided tours are all available.

Sylvester Manor is located at 80 North Ferry Road on Shelter Island. For more information, visit www.sylvestermanor.org or call 631-749-0626.

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