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Boston Public Library

Over a period of years and phases of historic restoration, John Canning & Co. used every facet of our extensive architectural arts services and skilled trades to restore multiple areas in the Charles McKim-designed Boston Public Library, including those which house extraordinary murals, compositions, and decoration by Beaux Arts contemporaries Puvis de Chevannes, Edward Austin Abbey, Elmer Garnsey and John Singer Sargent.

Boston Public Library
Murals by Edward Austin Abbey, Boston Public Library


Location: Boston, MA
Built: Circa 1895
Original Architect: Charles Follen McKim
Style: Beaux Arts
Status: National Landmark



John Canning & Co. was repeatedly chosen over a period of years and project phases to provide our expertise in analysis, interpretation, and implementation of historic conservation and restoration services in multiple public areas of the McKim building at Boston Public Library.

Bates Hall, Sargent Gallery, Elliot Room, Abbey Room, 18th Century French Room, and the entrance hall – each of these areas presented unique challenges owing to the creativity of artists. Charles McKim brought in some of the most talented artists & muralist of the day including Edward Austin Abbey, John Singer Sargent, Elmer Garnsey, and Puvis de Chevannes, among others, for their innovative use of materials in their decoration schemes. All of these artists were American except for Puvis de Chevannes who was French.


1999 Massachusetts Historical Commission Award

2001 Harlston Parker Medal, Boston Society of Architects


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