The items in this collection are part of Helen Pearson's portfolio of work that she created around the time she attended Cowles School of Art in Boston. Portsmouth Herald newspaper articles place her there in 1890, though some of her pieces are dated in the surrounding years.
Many of the original pieces included in the portfolio are unfinished drawings and sketches. Pearson primarily used charcoal and graphite pencil. She continued to work with graphite throughout her career, most notably in her drawings for Vignettes of Portsmouth
. For some of the works in the portfolio, Pearson used live models, but many of her drawings are of busts or statues, likely drawn from casts or other references. Other works collected in the portfolio include prints of pieces by Maxfield Parrish, William Roffe, and Jacques Lubin, among others, as well as an original painting by Boston artist C.E. Heil.
Helen Pearson was born on November 13, 1870 to parents Amos and Susan Pearson. Amos Pearson was a florist and music teacher originally from Ipswich, MA. Susan E. (Miller) Pearson was an artist and musician from Portsmouth. Helen Pearson attended the Cowles School of Art in Boston sometime around 1890. She also trained as a concert pianist, playing with the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra in New York. In 1913, Pearson’s drawings were featured in Vignettes of Portsmouth, New Hampshire
, a book she collaborated on with Harold Hotchkiss Bennett. She died on July 19, 1949 at her home on Broad Street in Portsmouth.
This collection was gifted to the Portsmouth Public Library by Richard Candee in January 2020. It is permanently housed in the Portsmouth Public Library Special Collections. The digital images are available here for research and public viewing.
More of Helen Pearson's work can be seen in The Helen Pearson Drawings Collection
. Her collection of bookplates
is also viewable and includes her own bookplate which features an original drawing of a meteor over Portsmouth.