This article was originally published in the August 2018 Trenton Downtowner.
The Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie Mansion in Cadwalader Park is marking its 40th anniversary with the exhibition “Airing Out the Attic.”
The exhibition features more than 80 works of art representing a collection that includes works by artists important to Trenton’s cultural life: That includes noted Trenton watercolorists Tom Malloy, Marge Chavooshian, and Robert Sakson, and nationally known painter Mel Leipzig.
Also in the collection and exhibition is George Bradshaw (1880-1868), the historically important artist and Trenton School of Industrial Arts instructor.
Born in Trenton, Bradshaw was the son of a British potter and worked in several positions before starting in the School of Industrial Arts. He is primarily known for his etchings. He excelled in this field as both an illustrator and etcher of views in Trenton and other New Jersey locations.
In addition to the substantial collection held by the Trenton Museum Society and Thomas Edison State University, Bradshaw’s works can be found in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, the Newark Museum, the New York Public Library, the Vanderpoel Gallery in Chicago, the University of Nebraska, and many private collections.
Bradshaw also provided illustrations for “A History of Trenton 1629-1929,” “A Pictorial History of Agriculture in New Jersey,” and “A Pictorial History of Trenton.” The latter, with text by Hamilton Schuyler, can be found in the “Jerseyana” section of the State Library.
One of his most beloved works is “Symphony Night,” an image that features the Trenton War Memorial and theater. Depicted affectionately, the light from its inside lobby warms the stairs, the darkness of the Delaware River looms beyond, and the streetlights of the towns across the river in Pennsylvania glow in the distance.
The fifth floor of the Kelsey Building, now populated by Thomas Edison State University administrative offices, was once home to the School of Industrial Arts’ artists’ studio. The still-existing skylight provided the artists with daylight to see and work with. And it was there that Bradshaw created “Symphony Night.”
“Airing Out the Attic” was curated by Trenton Museum Society member Carolyn Stetson with assistance from photographer and former Hopewell gallery owner and Trenton Museum Society member Jack Koeppel. It is on view through September 9.
Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie, Cadwalader Park, Parkside and Stuyvesant avenues. Wednesdays through Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m., Sundays 1 to 4 p.m. Free. 609-989-1191 or www.ellarslie.org.