Julie Carter Lefko (center, right back) visited Bedford in 2015 to document the Rufus Porter murals in a house then owned by Lorrie Dunham. (center, left front)

Submitted by the Bedford Historical Society

Rufus Porter (1792-1884), the “Johnny Appleseed” of landscape mural paintings, journeyed from town to town in New England for 20 years in the early 1800s, demonstrating his craft as he traveled.  As a result, several of Porter’s landscapes can be seen in some of Bedford’s oldest homes, including the Job Lane House at 295 North Rd., now owned by the Town of Bedford and open to the public.

Porter’s painting techniques will be the subject of the Bedford Historical Society’s April 23rd program, when an expert associated with the Rufus Porter Museum in Bridgeton, Maine, will share her extensive knowledge and discoveries about Porter’s work.

The program, set for Sunday afternoon, April 23 in the Upper Fellowship Hall of the First Church of Christ, Congregational, 25 The Great Rd., will begin at 2:30 pm.  A refreshment period from 2-2:30 pm will precede the guest speaker, Linda Carter Lefko.

Ms. Lefko is an artist, teacher, and scholar of historical decorative arts.  Her interest in historic murals led to a career in museum-quality restoration and conservation projects, writing books, lecturing, and teaching.

Her talk to the Historical Society will feature information and photos from her latest book, Folk Art Murals of the Rufus Porter School: New England Landscapes 1825-1845. The book includes images of over 400 Porter paintings throughout New England, which Ms. Lefko personally examined and analyzed.  According to the author, the book “provides inspiration for historians, researchers, designers and painters alike.”  Copies of her book will be available after her talk.

Special Ceremony

Before Ms. Lefko’s presentation, Society President Don Corey will introduce Society members Kaye and Rick Spofford for a brief ceremony.  When the Spofford’s purchased their historic house and barn at 1 The Great Rd. in 1976, they inherited two Rufus Porter murals that had been painted on the walls of the historic Jonas Monroe House on North Rd. — which unfortunately was demolished a decade earlier but saved by the previous owners of the Spofford’s house.  The Spoffords donated one mural to the Town of Bedford several years ago; it is hanging in the Town Hall Multi-Purpose Room.  The second, and much larger mural, is being donated to the Bedford Historical Society.

Rufus Porter Murals Documented by Scholars from Porter’s Bridgeton Museum

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