A Heart for History

09.16.2015, Living in the Hamptons, by .

Joy Lewis and her husband loved old things before folk art was thought precious. Haunting estate sales and antique shops, they found beautiful heirlooms imbued with the spirits of their former owners. They saved beloved objects from destruction and incorporated them into their historic home which they also lovingly restored. I was honored to visit Joy in her beautiful home. Entering through the front screen door, light shone from within. A breeze flowing through the open rooms felt like a sigh of contentment.

A beautiful kitchen, the table top a perfect still life.
Portrait of a boy (after death)
We lingered over glimpses of history.
An 1849 map rescued from a dumpster.
Portrait of Squire Samuel L’Hommedieu (1744-1834)
by Hubbard Latham Fordam
Besides being a prolific portrait artist, Fordham was the keeper of the Cedar Island Lighthouse. While keeping watch over Sag Harbor Bay, Fordham painted the view out the lighthouse window. Fordham’s portrait of shellfish is currently on display at the Parrish Art Museum, a loan from Joy Lewis. The painting is from her collection.
 Portrait of Shellfish: 
A View from Cedar Island Lighthouse Looking Towards Sag Harbor 1866 by Hubbard Latham Fordham (1794 – 1872)
A closer look reveals familiar landmarks.
I felt that Joy was a kindred spirit. I had longed to speak with her since reading a lovely passage that she composed for the book, Keeping Time in Sag Harbor by Stephen Longmire. I am so fortunate that we were able to actually meet. Her love of discovery, to uncover the histories of lives lived, all add depth and deeper meaning to our days. We continue the stories that Squire L’Hommedieu and others have begun. So fascinating! We were engrossed in storytelling for hours.
Portraits of the Hendrick family 
by Orlando Hand Bears c1830s
The Greek Revival home was originally built around 1835 for whaling agent and ship owner Charles T. Dering. Charles was the nephew of Henry Packer Dering, customs officer of the port of Sag Harbor. An amazing home with history at every turn. I am so grateful that I was able to visit. Thank you Joy!
We can look forward to a book coming out this spring which includes Joy’s home and collection.
Past Perfect:
Living with Heirlooms and Antiques
written by Susan Sully
The Monacelli Press
The book can be pre-ordered HERE
Joy will be creating new memories in another home soon. The house is in contract now.The video below a souvenir.

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