Step Into History: Eric Pape’s Masterpieces on Display at Hammond Castle Museum


Right now the Hammond Castle Museum in Magnolia is offering a trip through time and artistry with its latest exhibition, “Gertrude Cawein at Hammond Castle Museum.” 

Running until Saturday, April 28, this exhibit brings to life the masterpieces of Eric Pape (1870-1938), an important figure in Gloucester’s artistic history and marks a homecoming for this extraordinary collection of pieces from Pape’s extensive portfolio, most of which have never been shown together in a single exhibition.

A longtime resident of Boston and a fixture of Gloucester’s artistic scene, Eric Pape left a unmistakable mark on Gloucester’s cultural landscape.  He designed the familiar Tablet Rock Memorial in Stage Fort Park in Gloucester, which is a testament to his local influence.  But his artistry had much wider range.  Pape captured the essence of Cape Ann through “plein air” landscape paintings and, as can be seen in the museum’s current exhibition, he was a prolific and skilled portrait artist who cemented his legacy as a prominent, if underappreciated, artist of his time.

At the heart of the exhibition stands a towering example of Pape’s talent: the full-length portrait of Gertrude Cawein, rendered in oil on canvas with meticulous detail.  On loan from the esteemed Filson Historical Society in Louisville, KY, this rare work offers visitors a glimpse into Pape’s prowess as a society portraitist.  

Before its unveiling, the painting undergwent careful conservation by expert conservator, Timothy Neill, ensuring it will endure for decades to come.

The exhibition features nearly 60 pieces from Pape’s extensive repertoire, offering a multifaceted exploration of Pape’s talent.  Many works are graciously loaned from the private collection of Dr. Gregory Conn, a distinguished Pape collector and biographer.  

Admission to the “Gertrude Cawein at Hammond Castle Museum” exhibition will include self-guided tours of the museum.  Hammond Castle Museum members enjoy free access to the exhibit.  Virtual tour access will also be offered, making this the most accessible Pape exhibit ever offered. 

The exhibition not only showcases Gertrude’s portrait but also highlights the intricate world of Eric Pape’s artistry, offering a unique glimpse into Pape’s role as a portraitist and including examples of his celebrity portraits created during the Great Depression. There are pencil sketches and vibrant watercolors.  Each piece showcases Pape’s versatility.  From celebrity portraits to poignant murals, each piece offers a glimpse into the soul of a remarkable artist and his profound connection to Gloucester.

According to Caleb McMurphy, Hammond Castle Museum’s director of visitor services and education, Eric Pape was a friend of John Hays Hammond Sr., the prominent American mining engineer, diplomat, and philanthropist.  As a result, three Pape paintings are on permanent display within the museum, including the artist’s sole surviving mural, “The Wireless Naval Battle of Gloucester Bay,” a dramatic World War I themed piece he painted especially for his son, John Hays Hammond, Jr.

In 2023, these three works were the centerpiece of a small exhibition, “Pape at Hammond Castle Museum,” and that event became the seed to this current, expanded exhibit in partnership with Dr. Conn.  The Museum Shop will host a limited number of copies of Dr. Conn’s
newest biography, “Eric Pape in the New York Herald Tribune,” which delves into Pape’s work as a society portraitist.

The exhibition also marks the announcement of the launch of Dr. Conn’s new website,, featuring free flipbooks of all five of his published Pape biographies.

The connection between the Cawein family, Eric Pape, and Gloucester runs deep.  Madison Cawein, known as the Keats of Kentucky and Gertrude’s husband, wrote a poignant Ode to the founding of Gloucester for the 1907 Gloucester Day celebrations, during which time Pape presented his iconic Tablet Rock Memorial.  The exhibition will also feature an elaborate pen and ink drawing by Pape, representing Madison’s moving elegy upon the death of Pape’s first wife, Alice Monroe Pape, in 1911.


Hammond Castle Museum

80 Hesperus Ave., Magnolia

(978) 283-2080 or