Polly Thayer’s city scenes hold a special charm given the artist’s longtime association with Boston and particularly the Back Bay neighborhood; her childhood home was on Bay State Road, which runs parallel to the Charles River, and she would later raise her two daughters with husband Donald Starr at 198 Beacon Street.
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Clarendon Street Opposite Trinity Church Rectory shows the topmost windows of 230 and 232 Clarendon Street, abutting three-story buildings constructed in the early 1870s whose appearance remains largely the same to this day. Charles Cummings is the architect behind 230 Clarendon Street, which he built as his private residence in 1873, and certain elements of the design reflect his predilection towards the Gothic Revival style, which can be found in his other projects in the city, such as the Old South Church on Boylston Street and the Cyclorama Building on Tremont Street. In her piece, Thayer’s inclusion of the window washer perched precariously on the narrow ledge offers the viewer a sense of scale and reflects the care required to maintain Back Bay’s historic brownstones.
With the Copley Society, Boston
To private collection, Ipswich, Massachusetts, 1999 to present
(verso of paper) Clarendon St. Opposite / Trinity Church Rectory