N. C. Wyeth House and Studio

N. C. Wyeth, b 1882- d 1945
Brandywine River Museum of Art 1 Hoffman’s Mill Road, Chadds Ford, PA 19317 - view on Google Maps
610-388-2700
“This is the little corner of the world wherein I shall work out my destiny.”
—N. C. Wyeth
N. C. Wyeth spent much of his life and career here as one of the most successful illustrators of the first half of the 20th century. Experience the studio where Wyeth created many of his memorable works of art, and the home where he and his wife Carolyn raised their extraordinarily creative children. The dramatic space in which Wyeth worked reflects the robust, outsized personality that shaped his art. Standing in the main studio, one can easily imagine the great illustrator at work, creating characters that would become icons for generations of readers.

ABOUT

With proceeds from the Treasure Island commission (1911), N.C. Wyeth purchased eighteen acres of land on a hillside near the village of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. He called the property “the most glorious sight” in the township and immediately arranged for a house and studio to be built. In this idyllic location, set amidst beautiful, rolling countryside in the Brandywine River valley, Wyeth felt “totally satisfied that this is the little corner of the world wherein I shall work out my destiny.”
Wyeth had a hand in designing both the house and studio. The house, with its warm brick exterior, “harmonizes absolutely with the landscape,” he wrote. The design, reflective of aspects of local vernacular architecture, was “modest, simple in arrangement,…and homey.” He and his wife Carolyn nurtured a family of five talented children in this delightful home.

The main room of the studio, dominated by an immense three-part Palladian-style window, is a huge cavernous space containing three easels, approximately 900 reference books, and many of the “props” Wyeth used in his work. An early 19th century birch bark canoe hangs from ceiling rafters, and busts of Washington, Lafayette and John Paul Jones peer down from high bookshelves. Here, Wyeth created his iconic visions of knights, cowboys and pirates, painting hundreds of book and magazine illustrations that brought these and other characters to life.

In 1923, Wyeth added the equally dramatic mural studio to achieve the additional height needed for his mural work. This studio is presided over by William Penn. Man of Vision. Courage. Action, a mural Wyeth created in 1932 for the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company. Returned to the studio in 1997, the Penn mural gives visitors the opportunity to experience the scale in which Wyeth worked.

Did you know...?

When his children were young, each Christmas N. C. Wyeth would dress up as Santa Claus, scale the roof of the house and jingle sleigh bells down the chimney.

SPECIAL RESOURCES

The Brandywine River Museum of Art holds the largest collection of N. C. Wyeth’s paintings and drawings. The BRMA Research Center holds archival material from Wyeth’s studio and from other members of the Wyeth family that pertain to the illustrator’s career.

NEARBY SITES

WHAT TO DO HERE

  • Tour the house and studio with a trained guide.
  • Visit the Brandywine River Museum of Art to see the N. C. Wyeth collection.
  • Walk along the Brandywine River and other museum trails to experience the countryside, a constant source of inspiration to Wyeth.
  • Expand the Wyeth story by visiting the studio of N. C.’s son Andrew.

YOU CAN ALSO SEE THE ART HERE:

  • Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE
  • Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, ME
  • Texas Tech University Art Museum, Lubbock, TX
  • Brunnier Art Museum, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
  • Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
  • New York Public Library, New York City, NY