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Along the Luxx Museum Trail, immediately off Route 6A in Yarmouthport on the quaintly named Strawberry Lane, you will encounter the home, and now museum, of the iconic Edward Gorey, whose unique talent traveled like light across a spectrum of art forms.
Thirty-five years ago, Gorey purchased this 200-plus-year-old sea captain’s home on the commons. After he died in 2000, it became a museum dedicated to his life and work, as well as devotion to animal welfare.
It’s open now through December and will reopen in April.
Author, illustrator, playwright, set designer and costume designer, Gorey’s passion, distinct personality and prolific range is vividly brought to life, room by room. You can even visit his kitchen along the way.
As fascinating, and utterly unique, as the art you will encounter there, make sure to spend time simply staring at the man himself. Throughout the eclectic environment, you will see photos of Gorey and his friends throughout his life – at work, over convivial meals, along the water, alongside celebrities such as Frank Langella, who owes much of his fame to the Broadway play, Dracula, in which he starred and that won Gorey a Tony Award for costume design.
Because Gorey’s pen-and-ink work seemed so Victorian and Elizabethan, many admirers might think him British. In fact, he rarely traveled abroad, spending most of his creative years right on Strawberry Lane, if not in New York City.
It’s nigh impossible to synopsize Gorey’s life and works, but this excerpt from the Gorey House website is a good place to begin your own exploration of this prolific artist.
“A truly prodigious and original artist, Edward St. John Gorey (1925-2000), gave to the world over one hundred works, including The Gashlycrumb Tinies, The Doubtful Guest and The Wuggly Ump; prize-winning set and costume designs for innumerable theater productions from Cape Cod to Broadway; a remarkable number of illustrations in publications such as The New Yorker and The New York Times, and in books by a wide array of authors from Charles Dickens to Edward Lear, Samuel Beckett, John Updike, Virginia Woolf, H.G. Wells, Florence Heide and many others.
“His well-known animated credits for the PBS Mystery series have introduced him to millions of television viewers. Gorey’s masterful pen and ink illustrations and his ironic, offbeat humor have brought him critical acclaim and an avid following throughout the world. “
If you are an animal lover as well as fan of art, then you will encounter a double treat at the Edward Gorey House. The museum ably depicts Gorey’s true dedication to animal welfare.
Reflected throughout his work is not only a dedication to animals, but also his financial generosity. Gorey established a charitable trust that is a benefactor to this day of several animal welfare organizations including the Animal Welfare League of Boston with a Cape Cod Branch at the Brewster-Orleans line on Route 6A.
One of the most fascinating parts of the museum involves another Cape Cod institution that was totally entwined with Gorey’s life on the Cape, Jack’s Outback, just down Route 6A, hidden behind a row of buildings. Back when Jack Bragington owned it, Gorey would eat virtually every breakfast there when he was on the Cape. Jack and Gorey were best of friends. After Gorey’s death, Jack would take special guests up to his own apartment above the restaurant where stacks of his friend’s works – many personal gifts – could be explored.
Here’s a quick guide to what you will find on your visit through the rest of 2014:
The Fantod Press published such illustrious writer and illustrators as Ogdred Weary, Mrs Regera Dowdy, Eduard Blutig, O. Müde, Raddory Gewe, Edward Pig, Garrod Weedy, Aedwyrd Gore, and someone named Om.
Inspired by Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel , Gorey reproduced in miniature the set design for the Broadway play. The action here is dedicated to the sanatorium of Dr. Seward, near the town of Purley, somewhere in the English countryside all via fold-ups and pop-outs.
To visit the Edward Gorey House, pay heed to this schedule:
Through October 12, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday between 11 am. And 4 pm; Sunday, noon to 4 pm.
From October 17 – December 28, Friday and Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm; Sunday, oon to 4 pm.