Initiatives – Conservation of the Earle murals

Conservation of the Earle murals

Visitors to Norwich University who pass through Harmon Hall are presented with a glimpse into the illustrious history of the institution.

The walls of the dining hall are decorated with murals depicting the battles in which Norwich men took active parts, historic and scientific heroes. These representations were created for the purpose of education and esprit de corps.

Until recently, very little was known by the Norwich community about the purpose and events surrounding the commissioning of the paintings, or about the joint efforts by President Ernest Harmon (1950-1965) and the artist to produce these art works. The paintings helped Harmon to complete his strategic goals as president of Norwich University by improving the aesthetic environment of the University, enrich the education of its students and developing pride in the school. Harmon commissioned the murals as well as the portraits of General I.D. White, Lt. General Edward Brooks, Captain Alden Partridge and his own portrait.

The muralist, William Earle, a New Canaan, Connecticut, native, was a thirty one year old artist teaching and living in New York City when President Harmon approached him to paint for Norwich in 1956. Earle was very excited about the mural project and completed all ten paintings by 1960. After finishing his work for Norwich, Earle went on to write articles for a number of art journals, was a member of distinguished artist societies, and worked several years for the U.S. State Department teaching Art in South America.

The TAWANI Foundation paid for the conservation of the Earle paintings.

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