Ernest Hamlin Baker Mural:
The Economic Activities of the Narragansett Planters
Ernest Hamlin Baker’s mural for the Wakefield post office completed in 1939 is perhaps the most treasured piece of public art in Rhode Island’s Washington County.
The removal of the mural after the post office closed in 1999 created a local uproar that was finally eased when the Providence office announced in February 2003 that it would be returned to South Kingstown and loaned on a long-term basis to the Pettaquamscutt
Historical Society. It is now on display at the Old Washington County Jail museum.
Commenting on the work in 1983 when it was still in place at the post office, Bill Van Siclen noted that it was “executed in the muscular, idealized style of Thomas Hart Benton,” and, despite what he called “its rather windy title,” he observed that it “is a fine
example of American regionalist painting.” Ronald J. Onorato has described it as “one of the best known and most stylistically accomplished examples of public art in the state.” Conserved by the Williamstown Art Conservation Center, the mural is once again available to all to be viewed, admired, studied, and debated.
For more information on the work, please visit:
Available in our gift shop -