Rockport's Most Recognized Face - Motif #1

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The world is full of famous structures - large ones like the Coliseum, the Vatican, the White House - structures everyone recognizes.  A smaller example of well known buildings is Motif #1.  I'm sure you've seen it, if not in person, then in photographs or paintings.  It's said that Motif #1 is said to be the most painted building in America!  I'd go out on a fence here and guess that it's probably also one of the most photographed as well.  Like most places I research for my blogs, I found Motif to have some pretty interesting history......and you know I'm going to share it.


According to Wikipedia, Motif #1 was built in 1840 around the time Rockport was becoming home to a colony of artists and a settlement of fishermen.  The shack was a favorite subject of artists and painters because of it's simple structure, proportions, composition and lighting.  Lester Hornby, illustrator and etcher taught in Paris during the winter, and in Rockport during the summer.  In John Cooley's book, Rockport Sketch Book, John shares this story:
"During his summer seasons in Rockport, Hornby noted that many pupils chose the venerable,
dilapidated shed on the edge of the inner harbor.  Its prominence and its simple but interesting
proportions made it a natural model for sketches and paintings, good and bad.  One day when a 
student brought for criticism a pencil drawing of the house, Hornby exclaimed, "What - Motif #1
again!"  It has been that ever since."

"Painter, John Buckley used the shack as a studio in the 1930's. He sold it to the town in 1945. The town of Rockport purchased the Motif as a monument to Rockporters who had served in the Armed Services. The town, recognizing its iconic value, has taken pains to preserve both its structure and appearance, finding a red paint which appears weather-beaten even when new, and keeping the area clear of overhead wires, traffic signs and advertising."   The famous Motif was destroyed during the blizzard of 1978, but an exact replica was constructed that same year. (Wikipedia)

It's not just loved by tourists visiting Rockport.  In the Disney movie, Finding Nemo, you might  remember a scene in the dentist office.  Well on the wall of the dentist office hangs a photo of Motif #1, a tribute by director Andrew Stanton whose hometown is Rockport, MA.  In another popular movie, The Proposal, used Rockport Harbor and Bearskin Neck to represent Sitka, Alaska.
It's no wonder Rockport and its famous landmark, Motif #1 hold a special place in the hearts of so many.  It is a picturesque and friendly New England town.




Information gathered for this blog courtesy of:
If you're interested in reading more about Rockport and some of its famous attractions, you can read previous blog posts featuring Hammond Castle, Gloucester, Beauport (the Sleeper-McCann Estate) and the best bed and breakfast in town - the Beech Tree B & B.  Links to each of these blogs will be included at the end of this post.  It's time to start planning your summer vacation, why not consider Rockport! 
http://gwfirecracker.blogspot.com/2014/05/a-romantic-oasis-in-rockport-b-b.html  (Beech Tree B&B)
http://gwfirecracker.blogspot.com/2014/05/picturesque-rockport-ma.ht  (Rockport)
http://gwfirecracker.blogspot.com/2014/05/a-little-castle-by-sea.html  (Hammond Castle)
http://gwfirecracker.blogspot.com/2014/08/anything-but-sleeper.html  (Beauport Mansion)
http: //gwfirecracker.blogspot.com/2014/08/a-not-so-perfect-storm.html (Gloucester)

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