The summer home for Bert and Nina Little, Cogswell’s Grant was very inspirational for Jackie and me. We spent precious hours there and studied everything we could find written about that stunning collection. I have the four main books Nina wrote and the nice hardback books that were Sotheby’s auction catalogs for the Little’s collection from Pumpkin House and many articles clipped from mags about both houses.
The Little’s rug collection was one to study in depth. I designed and hooked a mat named Pumpkin House after the Little's home in Brookfield. I also designed a traditional bed rugg. A favorite design is named Cape Ann, others bear the names of MA towns, Like Newburyport and Hadley Welcome, and Ipswich. They were worked with dark off black back grounds and lots of red like Nina’s favorites.
The Littles made it clear they were “living with a collection”, not trying to “recreate a period home”. There is a vast difference. Living with a collection allows stone fruit from the early 20th century to mix with 17th century tin glazed earthenware (delft) whereas recreating a period home would not! We studied the lighting from C G and so we used iron bridge lamps and for tables had red ware jugs with simple shades. In rural west central Texas 40 years ago with almost nothing around us to learn from, Jack and I studied American Decorative arts with tireless passion. We made over forty trips to New England to buy for our home and our small antique shop, and saw as many museums and historic houses there as we could.
Absorbing what we could learn from the collection of Nina and Bert Little was so important for us. This was before there were Google Images, and tours on Youtube and collections of photos on Pinterest. Then one needed a reference library in hard form and we were unstinting in adding to ours. All of that burned when the Red Cape was lost, but a great many volumes were gradually bought again, and I have them within arms reach in my little library in this small modern home. So many memories are also within reach for me, triggered by something like a letter from my friend Joy who wrote yesterday of her visit to Cogswell’s Grant.
Joy Photographed two wooden dolls there and I share a different photo of one of them here. It is a nice English Wooden of the late 18th century, about 24 or 25 inches. I judge she was redressed mid 19th century. Not my photo.
Bed rug designed by Edyth O'Neill and hooked by Trisha Travis.
Above blue basket rug is taken from an old one. Jack made the tea table, I wish the beautifully carved Spanish feet showed more against the rug.