A study of a portrait of my father in the Huntington home.

After finally unpacking, I was walking through the halls of this massive home. There were several portraits of Lord Huntington’s Family lining the grand walls in elaborately adorned frames. The paintings were exquisite and I wondered if in the years I spent at RISD I too would paint this way.

The study was the last room in the main house that I explored. Lord Huntington’s books lined the shelves. I almost felt as if they were calling to me to read, since he had been gone for years and the books longed to be read. His collection spanned so many topics my head spun with which to choose first. I finally decided upon a book of poetry by Baudelaire.

As the light began to fade in the windows, I clicked the light switch on and heard the humm of the Tesla bulbs in the chandelier above my head. The Lord’s desk stood before a gigantic window. to the right and left were photographs of Huntington with Queen Isabella and King James II. The most intriguing photos were the portraits of Lady Huntington and my Father. I don’t know why I was shocked to see a picture of my father. He was like a son to Lord Huntington.

What surprised me was the age of the man in the photograph. It was not a young version of Father, but a picture of how I remembered him. He looked dour and worn as a man who grew old before his time. Only the slightest hint of a smile. His normal contemplative look peering through the lens of the camera and beyond the print on the paper into my eyes.

I don’t know if it was for morbidity or boredom before my classes got underway in the morning, but I sat at the desk, turned the chair around and drew a study of my father’s face. The face I wish I could see again and ask a thousand questions to now that I am old enough to understand the answers.

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