The Fells is the Historic Estate of Statesman John Hay.Hay at age twenty-two was chosen as private secretary to Abraham Lincoln. He went on to serve as ambassador to Great Britain and served as Secretary of State under presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. The Fells, named after Hay’s ancestral Scotland, is situated on a hillside in Newbury, NH and overlooks scenic Lake Sunapee. It was on these shores that John and his wife, Clara Louise Stone, sought refuge from public life and in 1888 Hay quietly began acquiring abandoned farms that would eventually total nearly 1,000 acres. In 1889 John and Clara hired architect George F. Hammond to design the Colonial Revival, gambrel-roofed structure that reflected the prevailing summerhouse style of the time. Construction was completed in 1892, and was followed by expansion of a second cottage in 1897. Clara had a garden of roses and hydrangeas.
I had the honor of photographing all the rooms for the Christmas at the Fells this year. Each year the Fells reaches out to the many talented interior designers in our region. Each one is given a theme and a room to decorate for the Holiday season to their hearts delight. The challenge for me were many: most old homes tend to be very dark and this house was very dark. The dark gloomy day of heavy rain did not help at all. The rooms were being decorated on Friday for the Gala which occurs in the evening, a significant time crunch. My job was to photograph each room as it was finished. Some rooms were completed lass than 2 hours before the start of the Gala. The collaboration between the Fells staff, the Interior Designers, and myself was amazing. It shows what can be accomplished in a very short period of time when people work together. Miss Stephanie, the outreach coordinator for the Fells pulled it all together.”Gary did the photography for our Christmas at The Fells Show House and we are so thrilled with his work! The photos really captured the essence of the show. Gary caught special moments I hadn’t noticed and show-cased the work of the designers. Gary was also a pleasure to work with—patient and self-directed. I would recommend Gary to anyone looking for an interior photographer. One other thing I would like to add; the Hay House can be very dark – it has very little lighting and Gary shot on an overcast morning. He somehow made the house seem bright and airy. We were very excited about how beautiful the house looked through his lens.”