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Hutchinson's Unquity
1827 watercolor of Thomas Hutchinson's house by John Ritto Penniman

Hutchinson's Unquity

This watercolor from our archives is the only known image of Gov. Thomas Hutchinson's house on Milton Hill as he knew it. In 1827, the Boston Light Infantry marched out to Milton and camped on the grounds of the Governor's former estate.1 They brought along artist John Ritto Penniman to make a draft of the house, and he painted this, which was given to the Society by Nathaniel Kidder in 1926.

Hutchinson called his estate, "Unquity," and by all accounts loved it and Massachusetts dearly. Esther Forbes' poignant vision of the estate in her Pulitzer-prize winning book, Paul Revere and the World He Lived In (chapter 5 of Part VI), is worth re-reading, as is this shrewd observation of hers, especially timely now as we commemorate our Civil War:

[Hutchinson] honestly believed in the centralization of power, and that the centre should be in London. The side which won did not, and yet their grandchildren (two of Paul Revere's among them) were to be dying within a century for the centralization of power in the Federal Government.

The paper on which our watercolor is painted bears an embossed border, with cherubs and the following phrases in each corner, clockwise from upper left: "Nous chantons, le doux accord des couers," "Je blesse, mais j'attache," "Ne faites qu'éffleurer et gardez d'éffeuiller," "Gardons la paix l'abondance suit."

upper left embossed border upper right embossed border
lower left embossed border lower right embossed border

1Teele, Albert K, ed. The History of Milton, Mass.: 1640-1887. Online at Archive.org