‘A Place in Pictures’: Landscape, Memory and Magic at Sylvester Manor

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A historic view of Sylvester Manor. Courtesy photo

The invention of photography in 1839 fascinated professor Eben N. Horsford, and two years later, he would open the first Daguerreotype studio in Albany, keeping abreast of any new technological advancements throughout his years of teaching and living with his family in Cambridge.

He and his family sat for numerous studio portraits, utilizing new methods from Tintypes and Carte de Vistes to Cabinet Cards and the use of glass negatives and paper prints. But it was at Sylvester Manor where the Horsfords used photography the most, capturing their lives there and the place itself.

A selection of those photos — as well as images through the 20th century, when Alice and Andrew Fiske lived at the manor — will open as “A Place in Pictures’ on Friday, June 1, at Sylvester Manor, located at 80 North Ferry Road on Shelter Island.

“Throughout the years, in images of the Manor, house, gardens, grounds and the people who lived and visited it, Sylvester Manor was portrayed as a place of memory with its long history honored and memorialized,” according to a press release. “This tradition was continued by Prof. Horsford’s youngest daughter, Cornelia, herself a talented watercolorist and photographer. She employed photographers to come to Sylvester Manor to photograph the place using new techniques, such as a Panoramic camera and the latest innovations in color photography. During the 20th century, Alice Fiske used photographs to portray her beloved gardens while her husband Andrew photographed the Manor and grounds from up above on top of the water tower to the inner workings of the windmill and farm.”

An opening cocktail reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Advance tickets is $65, or $75 at the door, and the exhibition will remain on view through the 2018 season. For more information, please call (631) 749-0626 or visit sylvestermanor.org.

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