Ezekiel Hersey Derby Farm

Collection Type

  • Art






Large rectangular format view of a white country farmhouse and outbuildings of the shipping merchant, Ezekiel Hersey Derby. It shows a carriage, horseback rider, and two pedestrians advancing down a wide road in the center of the picture; also, two figures engaged in farm activity and three studying the landscape. There is a summer house up on a hill at the left.


Descriptive Terms

oil paintings (visual works)
landscapes (representations)
oil paint (paint)


Ezekiel Hersey Derby (1772-1852) purchased this 110-acre farm in Salem, Massachusetts, in the spring of 1800. He quickly set about making improvements to the property, hiring Salem architect Samuel McIntire to update the buildings and implementing progressive methods of farming. The painting depicts lush agricultural fields, with the corn just coming on. For the next fifty years Derby pursued his agricultural passion. At age seventy-eight, Derby was described as “still active, personally superintending his extensive farm operations, and earnestly awake to every practical improvement.”
"Artful Stories": As a trustee of the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture, founded in 1792, Ezekiel Hersey Derby (1772–1852) was keenly interested in introducing scientific principles to farming practices. Some of those principles are seen here—deep plowing, working in an orderly and neat manner, and using manure as fertilizer. The stone walls surrounding the fields suggest that Derby faced the same challenges that confronted most New England farmers. Boulders and rocks appear in this region like an ineradicable annual crop, the shallow soil and freeze-thaw cycle bringing them to the surface year after year.


All inscriptions are on the canvas back: On a white sticker, typed and in blue print is: MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS Boston, Massachusetts/ Paintings by New England Provincial Artists/ Artist: M.F. Corne/Title: Derby Farm/Owner: Mr. and Mrs. Bertram K. Little, No.: cat.32 . On a white sticker, typed and in black print is: THE CORCORAN GALLERY/ Seventeenth Street & New York Avenue, N.W./Washington, D.C. 20006-4899/Rebecca Gregsan, Register./ 202-638-3211/ VIEWS AND VISIONS: AMERICAN/ LANDSCAPE BEFORE 1830/Wadsworth Atheneum: 9/21-11/30/86 / Corcoran Gallery: 1/17-3/29/87 /CAT NO.: 28/ARTIST: MICHELE FELICE CORNE/ TITLE: EZEKIEL HERSEY DERBY/FARM, SOUTH SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS/LENDER: MRS. NINA FLETCHER LITTLE Typed on a red-bordered jelly label is: Mrs. B.K./Little/Brookline/Mass. Typed on a blue-bordered label is: EZEKIEL HERSHEY FARM, South Salem,/Corner Lafayette St. and Ocean Ave./By M.F. Corne. Circa 1800 . Handwritten in black pencil is: Restoration/ Nov.1967 Wax Resign/lining Cleaning/oil varnish/partially removed Varnishing/Tablu's Rembrandt.

Associated Person

Derby Farm, Ezekiel Hersey

Associated Building

Subject Ezekiel Hersey Derby Farm,


Cornè, Michele Felice, 1752-1845 (Artist)

Location of Origin

Salem, Massachusetts, United States


45 1/8 x 57 3/4 (HxW) (inches)

Credit Line

Gift of Bertram K. and Nina Fletcher Little

Accession Number



Massachusetts (United States)
Salem (Essex county, Massachusetts)

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