There hangs upon a wall at the summer home of Mr. and Mrs. C. Coburn Darling at Cow Bay, Edgartown, the most perfect and eloquent record of a famous Vineyard landmark - the memorable and beloved boat building shop of Manuel S. Roberts.
The old building still stands in its vintage spot at the head of the town wharf in Edgartown, now the Old Sculpin Gallery of the Martha’s Vineyard Art Association; but only in the painting by the late H. Anthony Dyer, reproduced here through the kindness of Mr. Darling, is the character of Manuel’s shop kept alive to the last wood shaving on the floor, the spout which discharged water into a bucket, the interplay of light and shadow as Manuel’s visitors knew these details - and many others - for a full generation and more.


A Living Landmark

The reproduction cannot convey the feeling of the painting, but it does suggest the way in which Mr. Dyer committed a living landmark to color and canvas.
Mr. Dyer’s home was in Providence, as is the winter home of the Darings. He first came to the Vineyard in the late nineties when his father, Rev. Elisha Dyer, was a minister at Cottage City. Many years later, as a distinguished artist, whose work had gained a place in the permanent collection of the Corcoran Art Gallery at Washington, the Rhode Island School of Design, and other museums and libraries, Mr. Dyer spent a summer, painting on the Vineyard, with this canvas as one result.
Mr. Dyer died in 1943. He had been recognized as a commander of the Crown of Italy and with many other honors. It was through his daughter, Miss Nancy Dyer, also an artist, that the painting of Manuel’s shop came to the Darlings and back to the Vineyard where it is marvelously at home.