Junius B. Booth Society, Inc.

Tudor Hall Captures the Imagination of Maryland Artist David Fried

by Dinah Faber

There is something about Tudor Hall that captures the imagination of artists, writers, and actors who visit this Harford County landmark. This is certainly true of David Fried, an artist from Jessup, Maryland.

Left to right: Richard Herbig, County Executive David Craig, and David Fried

A few weeks after Harford County purchased Tudor Hall in August 2006, Fried and his fiancée Betty Pullin of Belcamp, Maryland, decided to try and catch a glimpse of the home of the Booth family. When they arrived, the gates were open, and they drove up the lane. Inspired by the charm of Tudor Hall and the beauty of its location, they lingered for three hours while Fried took out his sketchbook and created a pen and ink sketch as well as a watercolor of the 19th century Gothic Revival cottage.

Visiting Tudor Hall left Fried with many questions about the family of actors who lived there. During an online search, he came across a daguerreotype of Junius Brutus Booth Sr., one of the foremost Shakespearian actors of the American stage from the early 1820s until his death in 1852. Booth established a farm in Harford County shortly after his arrival in the United States from England in 1821. The Booths spent their summers in a log house on the farm until Tudor Hall was built on the property in 1851-52.

The image of Booth that Fried found online was taken by Mathew Brady, who later became famous for his photographs of the American Civil War. The Library of Congress now owns the original image of Booth dressed in theatrical costume. Unfortunately, Booth scholars have not been able to determine which role the costume was made for.

Fascinated by this compelling image of Booth, Fried decided to paint an oil portrait based on the daguerreotype. Since no colors appear in the sepia toned image, Fried had to decide himself what colors to use. In addition, he ground and mixed the pigments using techniques and skills he learned at the Schuler School of Fine Arts in Baltimore. Four generations of the Schuler family have lived and worked as artists and sculptors in Baltimore where they also founded an art school in 1959. Their curriculum for painters emphasizes the techniques and materials used by the Old European Masters.

In addition to his studies at the Schuler School, Fried also received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Baltimore, a Masters of Education degree from Coppin State Teachers College, a Certificate of Advanced Study in Reading from Johns Hopkins University, and a Master of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute of Art. Since 1980, he has participated in a number of shows and has received various awards for his works.

Calling upon his many years of experience and training as an artist, Fried created a vivid and powerful portrait of Junius Brutus Booth Sr. When the painting was finished, Fried's fiancée suggested that such a heart-felt tribute to the elder Booth belonged at Tudor Hall. As a result, Fried and Pullin contacted County Executive David Craig. The county executive was pleased to accept Fried's generous gift at a reception for the artist at Tudor Hall on July 2, 2007.

Fried's portrait of Junius Brutus Booth Sr. along with his original sketch and water color of Tudor Hall now brighten and enliven the walls of Tudor Hall.