The paintings Night Sleeper, The Mill, Flood Plain, Marsh Hawk, and River Valley all influenced the construction of this birdhouse. Upstream from the village of Chadd's Ford, this building is one of three on the Brandywine River that Andrew and Betsy Wyeth call home.Today the stucco is gone, revealing the beautiful stonework.


The mill stones, exposed rafter tips, with clutch doors and loading docks. In some paintings by Andrew Wyeth, this building is seen as cold, lonely, and bleak, In others, warm and friendly.Wyeth has said "there is always a fire burning in the Mill."

This building was saved from decay and demolition by the Chadds Ford Historical Society in 1968 along with the Barns-Brinton House on Rt. 1.

The birdhouse features two sides that reflect the house as done by Andrew Wyeth on the cover of the Historical Homes through the Artist Eyes 1968-2008, the 40th anniversary of the Historical Society.


Overheard at the reception, Andrew Wyeth whispered to his wife Betsy, "I can see my painting in that birdhouse." There can be no higher compliment.



This birdhouse is taken from the painting Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth. It is the home of Alvaro and Christina Olson, brother and sister, in Rockland, Maine. The Wyeth's summered near their home every year.


Wyeth painted and sketched hundreds of times on this property. The ladders, one leaning against the front, the other on the roof are in the pencil sketch for the Christina's World painting.


A rag stuffed in an upper story side window is in the painting Weatherside, one of Wyeth's favorite paintings.


The clapboard siding, windows and doors, the gutters and downspouts are patched and mismatched as they are in several sketches.


Photos by Wilmington photographer Leo Matkins were great help in the construction of this birdhouse.

 This old brick house on the road from Chadd's Ford to Kennett Square, PA is from William Penn's era. This home was occupied by a poor white tenant family. When passing by one day, Andrew Wyeth noticed a dead deer hung from a tree, ready to be gutted. The dignity of the old house and the squalor of the tenant family made an impression on him. The painting Tenant Farmer hangs in The Delaware Art Museum. This birdhouse has been on display in the museum near the painting.



 Located just outside of Chadd's Ford, PA, Karl Kuerner's farmhouse has been in hundreds, maybe thousands of Andrew Wyeth's sketches and paintings. The entire Helga series was painted at this property. This birdhouse is as the house is seen in paintings; Evening at Kuerner's, Brown Swiss, and Young Bull.Personal visits to the property and photography by Susan Gray were a great help in the construction of this birdhouse.Betsy James Wyeth, when shown this birdhouse on the front porch of her school house office exclaimed, "Oh, Jamie will love it!" (She purchased one of Burke's birdhouses as a 2008 Christmas gift.)

* Architectural Digest, June 2011......................© 2019 Thomas F. Burke

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