The Shaded Stream
In the late nineteenth century Laura Coombs Hills (1859–1952) became one of a small number of women who were able to earn their livings as artists. Born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and trained in Boston and New York, Hills is best known for pastels and miniatures. However, she also painted a few Barbizon-inspired landscapes probably in the 1880s. This painting is one of them, focusing not on the monumental landscapes that captivated earlier artists but instead on the quotidian or commonplace. Hills has come to be known as an important member of The Boston School, along with Frank Weston Benson (his painting Four Children at North Haven also hangs in the parlor) and Edmund Tarbell whose painting Breakfast on the Piazza is on display in the dining room.