William Morgan: Albert Quigley -- a king of Monadnock Region's culture

The Cheshire County Historical Society, based in Keene, N.H., has mounted an exhibition on the Monadnock Region painter Albert Quigley (1891-1961); it runs through early September. The show includes 45 of the artist's paintings – landscape and portraits, mounted in frames that he made. Additional material on Quigley's fascinating yet little-known story, his creative contemporaries, his frame- and violin-making, and his role in the musical life of contra dancing in southwestern New Hampshire complete the comprehensive 182-page catalogue, beautifully produced by Bauhan Publishing, of Peterborough.

  Quigley exhibition at Cheshire County Historical Society    --  Photo by William Morgan

Quigley exhibition at Cheshire County Historical Society

--  Photo by William Morgan

 

Unlike most of the famous members of the famous art colonies in nearby Dublin and Cornish,  N.H., Quigley was self-taught and was never able to devote himself entirely to his art. Born in Frankfort, Maine, he joined his father as a stonecutter in a quarry there. After service in France during World War I, Quigley settled in Keene; married and later moved to a small house in the nearby village of Nelson, where he helped raise three children; worked in the Cheshire Mill, in Harrisville, and also cobbled together a living as a mural painter, greeting-card designer and frame maker. His best client was Dublin painter Alexander James; they often worked together and Quigley's quiet landscapes and no-nonsense portraits show Mr. James’s influence.

 

  Mount Monadnock

Mount Monadnock

 

One of the pieces of writing in the catalogue is a tribute to Quigley by his long-time neighbor, the poet May Sarton. At Quigley's funeral, the minister read Sarton's tribute in honor of her great friend. One verse reads:

            "Lately, he lay downstairs, a dying king,

            His violin at the end of his bed like a couchant beast

            In some old tapestry or heraldic painting,

            The battered orange cat blinking by the fire.

            The fat asthmatic dog snoring beside him–

            Family, neighbors gathered there all day''

 

Providence-based architectural historian William Morgan is the author of the book about the cultural legacy of Dublin, N.H., cultural legacy, titled Monadnock Summer.

  "House in Sullivan, New Hampshire, Looking Toward Sugar Hill.''

"House in Sullivan, New Hampshire, Looking Toward Sugar Hill.''