Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mary Rose Holmes Welcomes You to her home

Mary Rose Holmes at the entrance to her beach cottage with Artist Violetta

Mary Rose painting en plein air

Violetta and Mary Rose painting en plein air
Hello Again, Please step inside my home, have some iced tea and pecan pie and I shall tell you a story.

Mary Rose Holmes majored in Fine Art. During her time at college the emphasis and style was certainly modern. Students were encouraged to used bold slashes of colour in a minimal fashion, which Mary Rose did.  Returning home during college break, she would boldly present her modern ideas to her father (a collector of original realistic and impressionistic art) and imply that he should move along with the times.  Her father Algenon Speer, a Fifth generation Floridian  defence attorney living in a small town in Florida had his own ideas about art. He tried cases in various areas and during his travels back in the 50's he stumbled upon some black artists who sold their  paintings on the roadside, outside the orange groves where they worked  for $20.  Those he purchased, still wet and fresh off the easel and loved. The artists would know when he was heading to Fort Piece or Kissimee and wait for him.  (he secretly wanted his daughter to paint in this style).    Mary Rose's mother favoured the European school of art for their home and only one of the Highwaymen paintings met her criteria. The Highwaymen collection sat in the attic of a beach home until Mary Rose and Dwight purchased their present cottage.  The interior  walls are hard cyprus and the door surrounds are pecky cyprus (now most difficult to find)

The artists are known as the   Highwaymen. Many of the earlier paintings sell from between $3,000 - $25,000.
One of the few surviving members of the original Highwaymen, Sylvester Wells, visits Holmes' cotttage .

Sylvester Wells and his wife having tea with Plein Aire Cottage Artists
Highwayman Artist Sylvester Wells reminisces about his fond departed friends, Hair, Roy and Harold Newton, Al Black and Roy McLendon

Algenon Speer collected approximately 25 paintings many hang on the walls of Holmes' cottage today.

Living rooms at Holmes Cottage with Highwaymen Paintings on walls

Algenon Speer Collection of Highwaymen paintings   Featured at Leepa Rattner Museum in Tarpon Springs.

Violetta and Mary Rose plein air painting inside the cottage, facing the beach

Mary Rose paints, supervised by her dog Little Bear
Violetta, Mary Rose and Helen paint a triptych in front of cottage

Artist Mary Rose painting
Next week we shall visit Mary Rose's Studio, which is free standing and connected to the cottage by a breeze-way/

We hope you enjoyed your visit.

Are you familiar with Florida's Highwaymen?


  1. Such a lovely post, and such lovely home and story. I don't know if you have heard of MoseT, but his work is very popular in Alabama, especially in Montgomery. He has also passed away.
    Thank ou for sharing this delightful history.

  2. Hello Teresa

    Thank you for stopping by and thanks for your kind compliments on Mary Rose's home. We are unaware of Mose T but will certainly research his work, which sounds fascinating.

    Our best for a great week

    Helen xx

  3. LOVELY PICS:) I really like your blog and I want to follow, but I dont see twitter or FB in here??

    If you want some swedish decor inspiration, you can check out my blog:)
    Have a great week.

    LOVE Maria at

  4. Hello Maria

    Thank you for visiting and for your kind words

    We look forward to visiting your blog


  5. I'm not at all familiar with the artists, but it is an interesting story. The paintings look just right for the cottage. And all the painters look so refined!

  6. Such a neat blog and a lovely post. Beautiful photos!

  7. Hello Jacqueline @ Cabin & Cottage

    Thank you for visiting and for your observation. We do appreciate your visit and comments


  8. Hello Denise
    Thank you very much for stopping by and for your positive and affirming words

    We look forward to future visits
    Helen xx

  9. I enjoyed visiting your cottage and took a peek at some of your earlier posts. Very interesting story about the Highwaymen with which I was not familiar.
    I'm a new follower, Mary Alice

  10. Hello Mary Alice @Chateau Chic

    A big warm welcome as our new follower - Thank you for your kind comments.
    The Highwaymen are an important part of Florida's art history.
    Have a glorious weekend