Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Door with History

This door is located at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
in the new American Wing

Nathaniel Sparhawk was born about 1717 in Boston and he
married Elizabeth Pepperell on 1 May 1742 in Kittery, Maine.  
His great aunt, Anna Sparhawk (1623 - about 1717) married 
James Convers, my 8th great grandfather, as his second wife. 

"Doorway from the
Sparhawk house
Maine (Kittery), about 1742
Painted wood, glass
This doorway comes from one of the grandest 
eighteenth-century houses in Kittery, Maine, on
the New Hampshire border.  The house was
owned by Nathaniel Sparhawk, whose portrait
by John Singleton Copley is on view in gallery 128"

a close up of the door knocker

This house at Kittery, Maine was known locally as Sparhawk Hall.  It was built in 1742 (one year after Nathaniel Sparhawk's marriage) as a wedding gift from his father-in-law, Sir William Pepperell.  Nathaniel Sparhawk was a wealthy merchant.  His portrait by Copley is one of the artist's few life sized paintings.  In 1758 Sparhawk had to declare bankruptcy, and his property was auctioned, except for this house.  When his wealthy father-in-law died, he was not named in the will.  His wife inherited in her own name.  This was all lost after the American Revolution because the Sparhawks and Pepperells remained loyalists and everything was confiscated by the new government.

The Lady Pepperell House and Sparhawk Hall were famous homes in Kittery, from the same family.  The Sparhawk house was used in movies and hosted politicians during the Portsmouth Treaty in 1905.  Sparhawk Hall was finally demolished in 1967, and the door was donated to Strawberry Banke Museum.  The interior woodwork was sold off and installed in a private home in Winthrop, Maine.  You can still find Sparhawk Lane in Kittery, near where the home once stood.

Click here to see photos of the Sparhawk Mansion before its demolition:

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


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Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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