He golfed, fished, played billiards and even established the N.E archery club, all this with his colleagues and wide circle of friends.Neither exotic nor scandalous, Pratt’s life cannot be characterized as “titillating” as can be said of many of his contemporaries.His death came at a time when the art scene was shifting away from European influence to a truly American School.Most fortunately for us, she refrained from chucking his weekly personal hand-written letters, unselfconsciousness in their nature, which he had obligatorily written to his mother, Sarah Victoria Whittlesey Pratt over the years. And finally, connect this amazing, unpretentious man to his works, all 180 of them!Within these letters are snapshots of the Beaux Art period in Paris France and in America.. And, don’t forget, there are multitudes of “unfinished” or “uncommissioned” works to consider too!!
He even, as a cash flow enterprise, planted pear and apple trees as well as vast crops of potatoes!The Civil War had barely ended when, on December 11th, 1867, Sarah Victoria Whittlesey Pratt, age 36, gave birth in Norwich Connecticut to her fourth child, Bela Lyon Pratt.Sarah’s father, Oramel Whittlesey, had founded the first conservatory of music in New England, Music Vale Seminary in Salem, Connecticut.Her husband, George Pratt, a graduate of Yale University and a lawyer, was the son of the first Bela Lyon Pratt of East Weymouth, Massachusetts.As Sarah Victoria held her infant boy, Bela Lyon Pratt, in her arms, it is doubtful she had any inkling that, by the turn of the century, he would already have carved out a strong artistic reputation for himself.’ My mother, rather impatiently said ‘Bela pinches them out of beeswax. He always plays with it.’ I distinctly remember hearing her discussing the matter with my father in the evening.