Welcome to Armchair Travels, an invitation to travel around the world through the reportage illustration of Studio 1482.We have gathered art from our travels to share with you in the hopes that, while you can’t get out and see these places (yet), our experiences may bring some happiness and light to your day. Please check back often as we will be posting new adventures weekly.
Enjoy Boston…by Veronica Lawlor
It seems like eons ago, but this past Fall I was commissioned to create on-site illustrations of Boston, Massachusetts, to celebrate the opening of The Newbury hotel, near the entrance to the Public Gardens. The hotel is the featured building in the image above; it sits on the corner of Newbury Street and Commonwealth Avenue, overlooking the park.
It was such a pleasure to document the history and elegance of one of America’s oldest cities.
For four delightful days, I focused on Newbury Street, the Beacon Hill area, and of course, the Public Garden itself.
Founded in 1837, the Boston Public Garden is the first public botanical garden in America. According to the sign at the garden’s Commonwealth Ave. entrance, the park was founded in 1837. Many iconic fountains and statues – including Thomas Ball’s monument of George Washington in the drawing above – were erected in the 1860s. The landscape design of the park was created by George F. Meacham, and the plants, flowers and trees were laid out by James Slade and John Galvin. You can read more about the history of the park HERE.
For my part, I enjoyed the quiet, personal feeling of the park, and I probably spent more time than I needed to drawing the large pond by the Commonwealth Avenue entrance. The Public Garden really made me feel the notion that public spaces are for the community. Little kids and their grandparents feeding the birds, local residents jogging, happy couples getting married, young girls in their Quinceañera dresses – the overall feeling was very intimate.
And of course, those swan boats drifting amongst the willow trees added a sense of romance…
The park also has amusement for the children – the carousel is, appropriately, Revolutionary era-themed.
One of the hot spots for the kids is the statue dedicated to the children’s book, Make Way for Ducklings, written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey. The statue is the cutest; a row of little brass ducklings led by their Momma, whom the little ones love to climb on. I dare you not to smile when you see that – I certainly was smiling when I drew it. Speaking of hot spots, early September still holds plenty of heat in the city, and so I was also able to draw many of the local children enjoying the fountain and wading pool of the Frog Pond, below.
Overlooking the Frog Pond is the entrance to the Boston neighborhood known as Beacon Hill. Wow, what an elegant place. I felt a bit underdressed in the company of all of the grand architecture and tree-lined cobblestone streets. Standing in front of one of the most famous, Acorn Street, I could feel myself transported to the late 18th Century (drawing below.)
There are and have been many famous residents of Beacon Hill, including Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, whose home is on the left in the drawing above. (Drawing her home was kind of a fan-girl moment for me.)
Strolling back down from Beacon Hill, I then took a tour of Newbury Street, to draw some more lovely architecture and fashionable shops. There are many small restaurants and cafes along Newbury Street as well, so I would usually end my day of drawing here, to relax, have a little late supper, and review my work for the day. At times like these, I feel so lucky to be a reportage illustrator. My work combines all of the things I love to do – drawing, traveling, meeting people, and spending time in beautiful places. What could be bad?
This last drawing is of the entrance to The Newbury hotel, which those of you familiar with Boston may recognize as the old Ritz-Carlton, reborn.
The nicest part of this whole story is how The Newbury hosted me during my stay in Boston. What a beautiful room, what a lovely view, what a delicious breakfast buffet every morning! I still think about that breakfast, served on bone china in an expansive dining room with damask tablecloths. The service was exquisite, too: I felt quite pampered.
My first night back home, I was looking for the slippers waiting next to my bed. ;)
I highly recommend a stay at The Newbury, and if you go, you just might see one of my drawings on the walls.
To see more Armchair Travels from the reportage artists of Studio 1482, please click HERE.