Peterborough Artist’s Work Finds New Home
New England College Donates Nora Unwin’s Collection to the Monadnock Center
PETERBOROUGH, NH – New England College and the Monadnock Center for History and Culture are pleased to announce that the Nora S. Unwin Collection has found a new home at the Monadnock Center in Peterborough through a donation from the College to the Center.
The Sharon Arts Center cared for the collection for many years. New England College took ownership in 2019 as part of its merger with the New Hampshire Institute of Art, the parent of the Sharon Arts Center. In the early 1980s, illustrator and printmaker Nora Unwin left the contents of her Peterborough studio—including more than 500 prints, drawings, paintings, and illustrations—to the Sharon Arts Center. After her death in 1982, the Sharon Arts Center dedicated the Unwin Studio to honor her career as an artist and teacher. The Nora S. Unwin Collection is a remarkable record of her work spanning every decade of her long artistic practice.
“We are delighted to see the Unwin Collection find a home in Peterborough where the artist spent so many productive years,” said James Murtha, Senior Vice President of Academic Alliances at New England College. “Nora wanted her work to inspire the people of her adopted community. Its new home at the Monadnock Center ensures that her work will remain available to interested faculty and students of the College and will also remain a vibrant part of the Monadnock Region.”
Nora Spicer Unwin (1907–1982) was born in England and received her degree from the Royal College of Art. She enjoyed early success as both an illustrator and wood engraver, with her first book illustration published when she was just 18. When she was in her 20s, the British Museum acquired two of her early wood engravings for their permanent collection.
In the 1930s, she met American writer Elizabeth Yates in London and the two began a lifelong collaboration. Yates and her husband William McGreal left London on the eve of World War II and settled in Peterborough. Unwin immigrated to the United States in 1946 and joined the McGreals at their Peterborough home, Shieling. In her new country, Unwin continued her work in illustration and wood engraving and began to experiment with other printmaking techniques and collage. She taught at the Sharon Arts Center in the 1960s and 1970s.
The Monadnock Center will launch a retrospective exhibition to showcase the collection in 2023. “For people who have lived in the region a long time, seeing Nora Unwin’s work will be like visiting an old friend,” said Monadnock Center Director Michelle Stahl, “But I am also excited to introduce a new generation to Unwin and her amazing career. We are honored to be the new caretakers of this important collection.”
About the Monadnock Center for History and Culture
The Monadnock Center connects residents and visitors to the history and culture of the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire by preserving and celebrating the region’s past, enriching its present, and shaping its future. The Center’s events and exhibits explore and share the region’s rich history through programs, concerts and events that enrich cultural life and promote thoughtful discussion and connection to the region. For more information, visit www.monadnockcenter.org.
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