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From Suppositories to Brilliantine: an apothecary time capsule

Thu, March 12, 2020 3:01 PM | Anne Ocone (Administrator)

by Matthew McGarrell.  As the White Plains, New York home of Percy Aldridge Grainger and Ella Viola Strom is gradually transformed into an accessible landmark, museum, and research facility, treasures emerge to become objects of fascination as well as evidence of the lives of two enigmatic twentieth-century creative artists.  Everything at 7 Cromwell Place—from light fixtures to plumbing, from furniture to wall paper, from pianos to paintings—bears witness to the idiosyncratic lifestyles of Percy and Ella.  For several years, I have been making photographs and videos in the house, sporadically but intently, focusing on details that mostly have changed little since the hands of Ella and Percy were upon them.  The “star” of this video—the medicine cabinet in Percy and Ella’s bathroom—affords opportunities for intimate observation and reveals something of the natural approach to health that the Graingers practiced.  I am indebted to our guide, Barry Peter Ould, for his knowledge of antique apothecaries and the gentle humor with which he displays it.  

My growing collection of photographs made at 7 Cromwell Place can be seen here:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/willblax/albums/72157708846752652

7 Cromwell Place, White Plains, NY 10601


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The Percy Grainger Society's programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

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