CHELMSFORD -- The Central Congregational Church formally received and dedicated an historical painting that has a close tie to Chelmsford's history.
The painting, titled "Joseph and his Brethren," graced the hallway of the Fiske House in Chelmsford Center for more than 100 years. It came into the Fiske family by way of the family of Eliza (Winn) Fiske, who was married to John Minot Fiske. The Fiskes moved to Chelmsford from Boston in 1839 in search of a country home and to return to the area where many generations of the family had lived. The painting was given to the family along with two valuable Dutch paintings in exchange for payment of a debt.
The origin of the painting is unclear. Word in the family was that it was "painted by the student of a master." Later assessment indicated that it is a pastiche -- an artistic work that imitates another work, artist or period. The painting was bequeathed to Rachel Fiske Scott, daughter of Frederick AP Fiske, after his death in 1939. Mr. Fiske's son, Eustace B. Fiske, was the last family owner of the house. After Rachel's death, her husband and son donated the painting to the Beechwood Congregational Church in Cohasset. Following the closure of that church a few years ago, the current owner, John Minot Scott of Bridgewater, sought to return the painting to Chelmsford. He eventually decided to donate it to Central Congregational Church.
During the Sunday service after the painting had been dedicated, Pastor Richard Knight used the stories of Joseph and his brothers as the basis of his sermon.
The public is invited to view the painting and to attend worship at Central Congregational Church every Sunday at 10 a.m.