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Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize, the first Pulitzer awarded to a woman. The book tells the story of an upper-class loveless marriage between Newland Archer and May Welland as well as the story of the scandalously divorced Countess Ellen Olenska. While yet engaged to May, Archer finds himself desperately in love with Countess Elena. The novel examines – yet never definitively censures – the mores, morals and social rigidities of the 19th century upper class in the greater New York City area.
Some scenes in The Age of Innocence take place around Rhinebeck, NY, near my home. For this piece, I drew a sideboard that has traveled with me over the decades, and now, much scuffed up, resides in our dining room.