To Arrive Where We Started


To Arrive Where We Started

A Curatorial Project by Peter Eudenbach

July 15, 2012 - June 30, 2013



Harrison's Mirror


The mirror placed above the pediment above the original entrance to the Redwood Library reveals the institution's role as a mirror of the world. Peter Harrison's 18th century design for the Redwood mirrors the architecture of Andrea Palladio, whom Harrison greatly admired. Palladio's designs reflect Greek & Roman temples from antiquity. Ancient cultures throughout the world used mirrors for the divination of secret knowledge.



The original 18th-century key to the Redwood has been placed above the skylight in the Harrison Room, the oldest space in the Library. Hovering above the room within view of the door it once opened, the key now functions as a symbol of access, entry, thresholds, and the search for truth.

Sea of Words


The Reading Room is a place to explore the world of words and ideas. The ship model suspended above creates an imaginary ocean to be navigated by the mind's eye. Votive ship models have a history reaching back to examples found in Egyptian tombs. There is also a long tradition in Europe of hanging model ships in churches of coastal towns.

Captain Charles Hunter: Lost in a Sea of His Own Hair


In the Van Alen Gallery is an elegy to native Newporter Captain Charles Hunter, who was lost at sea in 1873 and whose 200th birthday will be in June, 2013, during the final weeks of this exhibition.

Raft within a Raft


Summer House designed by Peter Harrison, c. 1766.

Originally located on the estate of Abraham Redwood in Portsmouth, RI


The placement of an inflatable raft in the Summer House combines two disparate objects from different centuries that share the same shape and ultimately serve the same purpose. Traditional architectural follies such as the Summer House are "rafts" where one can float within the landscape in the solitary contemplation of nature. Historically, octagonal structures were built for baptism or burial and therefore signify immersion, destination, beginnings, and ends.