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Old Town Hall II – Indian Mural

From a clipping from The Advocate

Saturday, July 28, 1934
Mural Depicts Purchase of Stamford

the mural depicting the purchase from the Indians

The mural hung this week in the office of Town Clerk George R. Close, depicting the purchase of what is now Stamford from the Indians, has been attracting considerable attention. It was painted by Arthur Gibson Hull, and is one of the Public Works of art projects made possible through the Federal Government and the town.

Part of It.

The painting was first done on canvas at the home of the artist in Norwalk, but has been so placed on the wall as to seem a part of it. It is 12 feet long and eight feet high. It shows Indian chiefs at the left facing white men on the right across a large map of the territory purchased, surmounted by the old coat of arms or seal of the Connecticut colony, bearing 15 grape vines on its field instead of three as at present.

Below are grouped the knives, hatchets, hoes, kettles, coats and wampum which formed the purchase price. A forest background of pines and hard woods, together with a balanced and even distribution of design, and rich, but subdued colors, tend to give this mural something of an antique tapestry effect that adds much to its charm.

Largely Responsible.

Mr. Hull said that Clark Weed, whose interest in things Colonial and the early history of Stamford is well known, is largely responsible for the preliminary research necessary in a work of this character, and spared no effort to make the painting a thing of I value to the town.

Mr. Hull added that while a great deal of care was taken to make the details of costumes and implements authentic for the period, no portraits of those who took part in the original purchase of Stamford are available, as far as could be determined, nor indeed anything more than a bare record of the transaction. So this painting is not so much a picture of an actual scene as an imaginative decoration symbolizing an important event.

The land now comprising the town of Stamford, quaintly called a "plantation" at that time, was bought under the Indian name of Rippowam for the New Haven Society In the Summer of 1640 by Capt. Nathaniel Turner and sold In the Fall of the same year to a group from Wethersfield who started a settlement the following year. The names "Ponus," "Rippowam," "Toquams" and "Shippan" which occur in the old deeds are still identified with the life of the town and its environs.

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