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Adeline's Portal

An Installation By Beth Lipman

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Beth Lipman's installation Adeline's Portal. Click image to enlarge. Photo by Ed Pollard.

This is a story that spans two centuries by way of two women.

The first is Adeline Myers. Born into a prosperous Norfolk family in 1791, this sparkling lass, fluent in French and well-versed in social graces, was to be married in 1819. Her fiance died just days before the wedding, and she never courted again. After her mother died in 1823, she dutifully served as her father's hostess and household manager until her death in 1832.

The second is Beth Lipman, a Wisconsin resident first known as a glass artist now gaining renown as a conceptual artist. For those unfamiliar with the term, in conceptualism, the ideas involved in the work transcend the traditional measures of the medium alone. Conceptual art is usually presented as an installation, and Lipman, in her recent works, has essentially married the concepts of still-life paintings with glass sculpture.

In the Adeline's Portal installation, Lipman reimagines and reinterprets items from the Myers household in clear glass. Of particular note is how she took a needlepoint sampler Adeline created around the turn of the 19th century, reinvented it in oversized glass, and then incorporated the sampler into the overall installation. It's as if the hand of Adeline is still at work through the hands of Beth.

Lipman crafted the objects while serving as an artist in residence at the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio in March 2013. For details on her residency, click here.

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Adeline Myers' birthday, like that of her siblings, was recorded in the Myers family Bible. Click image to enlarge.


She loved music; she sang and played both the harp and the pianoforte.

She enjoyed traveling and would lament when her father or brothers would go on trips without her.

She was very close with her brothers and sisters, so much so that her friend Julia Mordecai commented about it in a letter. Her brother Sam also entrusted his personal journal to her.

She was well read, and owned a book called "Female Biography" that was given to her by her brother John.

Her father, an accomplished merchant shipper, named one of the ships in his fleet after his daughter. The Adeline Myers was lost at sea in 1809.