Born Ethel Randolph Thayer in 1904, Polly, as she was called all her life, grew up in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston and began taking private drawing lessons when just in grade school. At nineteen, she entered the Museum School, studying under Philip Leslie Hale and Leslie Prince Thompson, and later took private lessons with Hale where she mastered the conventions of academic painting. Her desire to learn more about composition and color theory led her to Provincetown where she rented a small cottage with a friend and studied at Charles Hawthorne’s summer school.
More information about this painting...
View from Copp’s Hill, Boston shows a site familiar to many Bostonians and visitors to the city. As the highest point in the popular North End neighborhood, the Copp’s Hill Burying Ground is the second oldest cemetery in the city and the final resting place of many notables dating from Puritan times up through the 1850s, including the famous ministerial Mather family, whose tomb would be just to the right of the obelisk in Thayer’s painting. View from Copp’s Hill engages the viewer through its palette of bold primary colors while also serving as an exemplar of the city’s rich mix of history and progress.
Collection of the artist, Lexington, Massachusetts
With Vose Galleries, Boston, inventory no. TH-183, 2004
To private collection, Sudbury, Massachusetts, 2007 to present
Previous Vose Galleries label, inventory no. TH-183
Centennial Exhibition, Polly Thayer (Starr): A Celebration of the Artist’s 100th Birthday, Vose Galleries, Boston, November 2 – December 31, 2004, illus. p. 12