INTRODUCTION: FARMER, ARTIST, POTTER
When you think of artists associated with Windham, you might think of the impressionist painter Mary Braddish Titcomb or the western artist, Howard Everett Smith, both of whom grew up in town, but became noted for their art elsewhere. Well, there was another artist, who moved to Windham in the 1940’s, who was a designer, painter and potter, who became very well known in art circles in New Hampshire and beyond.
Over the years, learning about Windham’s history, his name kept coming up in conversation, but I knew very little about him. Of course, I knew his wife Pearl, personally, from my trips to the Nesmith Library as a child. Then one day, I was given a piece of pottery, that bore the imprint of Ed Devlin on the base. The vase had belonged to long time Windham, Chief of Police, Willis Low. Little did I know at the time, that the potter and the chief were close friends, as you might have expected them to be in a small town, like Windham was, during their lifetimes. Back then, the rhythm of life was a bit slower and more humane. Willis will always be remembered for the way he handled the kids who went astray, working in his unique way to put them back on the straight and narrow, without all the fuss and hysteria often seen with juveniles today. And it’s Willis Low’s vase that renewed my curiosity about Ed Devlin.
Low’s vase is pictured below. It is a beautiful form, with warm hues of rich, deep russet and brown on a natural speckled background. Well, now I had a piece of the man’s pottery, but still didn’t know anything about him. Finally, determined to tell his story, I called his family to find out more about him and his career as an artist.
The Devlin family, especially Mary, was very gracious to me in providing the detailed information I was seeking about her dad and his craft. I really enjoyed finally hearing his story, about his life in the arts, and his life in Windham. I hope that over the next few weeks, I will be able to do justice to a man I only know through those that loved him, newspaper accounts and by the art he created.