Artist Russell Buzzell of North Brookfield will unveil his latest painting “Wheeler’s Surprise” at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 2, 2014, at the New Braintree Town Hall.
Buzzell grew up on his family’s farm on Bates Street in North Brookfield, graduated from North Brookfield High School in 1960 and from the Art Institute of Boston in 1966. Russ worked many years for the Massachusetts Audubon Society and freelanced for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and Gray’s Sporting Journal. He has illustrated several books, including Animals Nobody Loves by Ronald Rood, The Farm Book by the Massachusetts Audubon Society, The Wilderness Home of the Giant Panda by William Sheldon, and was a contributing artist for DeCourcy Taylor’s books, The Ultimate Fishing Book and The Art of Shooting Flying. The majority of his work today involves privately commissioned paintings of New England farms and history.
“We are so pleased to host the unveiling of Mr. Buzzell’s painting. He is an amazing talent, and having the event take place in New Braintree is especially noteworthy on the 339th Anniversary of the actual ambush,” said Richard L. Barrett, President of the New Braintree Historical Society. “We are looking forward to making this an especially memorable day for guests and for Mr. Buzzell, whom we all greatly admire. The event will be open to the public. In addition to the official unveiling, Mr. Buzzell will talk with us about what inspired him to create the painting and the process he used to create this historically accurate work. Examples and samples of materials, photographs, models and research will be on display.”
Wheeler’s Surprise was the ambush of an expedition sent out by the colony of Massachusetts to gain the neutrality of the Nipmuck Indians during King Philip’s War. The ambush took place August 2, 1675 in a swamp in the present town of New Braintree, Massachusetts. Captain Edward Hutchinson was in command of the expedition, who had an escort of about twenty horsemen led by Captain Thomas Wheeler. Ephraim Curtis and three Indians friendly to the English accompanied Hutchinson as guides and interpreters. Also with the expedition at the time of the ambush were three men from Quaboag Plantation, or Brookfield. The ambush was called Wheeler’s Surprise because Captain Thomas Wheeler wrote a detailed account of the attack and subsequent Indian assault on the town of Brookfield. (Adapted from Jeffrey H. Fiske’s Introduction to “Wheeler’s Surprise: The Lost Battlefield of King Philip’s War, published 1993, updated 2009)
In addition to “Wheeler’s Surprise”, other works by Russ will be on display and prints will be available for purchase at the event.
Richard L. Barrett, President
New Braintree Historical Society
Telephone: (413) 477-8754