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A Convivial Social Feed

Happy Father`s Day!👨‍🍼👨🏻

Here is marine artist and architect John Prentiss Benson (1865-1947) with his eldest child, Marjorie, in 1896.

Born into a well-to-do family from Salem, MA, John wanted to follow in the footsteps of his older brother, Frank, who was an artist, but he was advised that one artist in the family was enough. Instead, John trained as an architect at two Paris schools, and when he returned to the States, he joined the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White in New York City. Later, he started his own firm with a Paris classmate. It seemed, though, his passion was elsewhere.🎨

According to family lore, while vacationing in England for his birthday in 1921, John received a wire from Frank, now a well-known artist. His brother wrote, "If you`re going to paint—PAINT!" 😤

And with that encouraging ultimaum, John shipped the first paintings to New York, where six were sold. At age 56, he became a full-time painter with a focus on seascapes. 🌊⛵️

Fittingly, in 1925, he purchased "Willowbanks," a grand home overlooking the Piscataqua River off Whipple Road in Kittery. His studio was across the street on the corner of Tilton Avenue.

With his wife, Bessie, they raised five children, but by the time the couple had moved to Kittery, they were grandparents, affectionately known as "Poppity" and "Goggity." 😊

In June 2004, the first major exhibit of his work "A Retrospective Exhibition: The Artistic Legacy of John Prentiss Benson" was held in the Randall Gallery here at the Athenaeum. Co-curators were Nick Baker and Margaret Betts, grandchildren of Benson. Much of the above information was gathered from a 2004 profile on Benson by Proprietor Rose Eppard.

#happyfathersday #johnprentissbenson #willowbanks #kitterymaine #collectpreserveshare📖 #localhistory #PortsmouthNH #nh #seacoast❤

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