Two Paintings and Two Locations

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heritage center st. jST. JOHNSBURY - After many many years away from home, the portrait painting of Francis Fairbanks has returned to the side of her husband, Franklin at the Fairbanks Museum. Thanks to some heavy research performed by town resident, and Director of the History and Heritage Center, Peggy Pearl was able to return Francis to her husband, and they are both now hanging next to eachother in the Fairbanks Museum welcome landing.


“It just took awhile to get here,” Pearl said with a laugh. The painting itself was believed to have been in New Hampshire, in Lebanon in the house of Whit Spaulding, however it was revealed that the painting was actually elsewhere. “We’re delivering them [the paintings] back home,” said Chris Foster of Albany. “They’d been hanging in my dad’s home in Washington, DC.” Luckily the family holding the paintings felt that it was time for the portraits to return home to St. Johnsbury. This of course means that the portrait of Francis Fairbanks was not the only painting to return to the Green Mountains.

A painting believed to have been a portrait of Franklin Fairbanks was actually of someone else, and went unnoticed for a very long time. It wasn't until Peggy Pearl pieced it together. "I worked at Fairbanks Museum for years and years, and walked by the bust and painting of Franklin, When I saw the [Clapp] painting, I said, ‘uh-oh’, [that’s not Franklin Fairbanks].” The painting of Sumner Clap [Francis Fairbank's father] has also been returned to the St. Johnsbury area, and is now hung up in the St. Johnsbury History and Heritage center.

When asked about how Pearl feels to have the paintings returned to the Northeast Kingdom, she said that she was overjoyed that the portraits were brought back home. “Franklin gave a lot of credit to his wife, and it’s just fitting that they should be back together,” said Pearl.