In Their Words

'I hate pretty work'

Read Aloud

I have aspirations, I do not think I have ambitions--but art is the one thing before which I stand humble & simple as a child--I am content with the second best of all else--and so you see you feel why I am so miserable over myself & my works...I hate pretty work. Did you tell me that Hammerton [sic] says or did I read it--that 'only the pretty in art is unendurable' and I paint pretty china & pretty screens sometimes...

Madeline Yale Wynne to Isadore Taylor, January 4, 1880, folder 10, box 1, Taylor Papers, collection of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association.

Madeline wrote to a friend in 1879, years before she began her artisan work in Deerfield: it is Christmastime, early in Madeline's career and she is currently receiving commissions to decorate pieces of china and room screens. This quote points to an artistic philosophy that she will make manifest in her later Arts and Crafts work.