Last House Standing – Part 2

Late last year, I wrote a short post about the death of Curt Brownfield and the house where he lived on Denny Hill. I called it the Last House Standing because it was the final home to survive the regrades of Denny. Recently I came across a wonderful painting of the house and wanted to share it, along with another shot of the Brownfield home.

The Hold Out by J. Edwin Burnley from A Fluid Tradition
“The Hold Out” by J. Edwin Burnley from A Fluid Tradition

The artist was J. Edwin Burnley, who painted it around 1937. I learned of the drawing from A Fluid Tradition: Northwest Watercolor Society…the first 75 Years by David Martin. Burnley was born in Victoria in 1886 and arrived in Seattle a decade later. He later studied at art schools in Canada and was a president of the Northwest Watercolor Society and co-founder, with his wife, of the Burnley School of Art and Design, which later morphed into the Art Institute of Seattle. “Burnley devoted his professional career to teaching and arts advocacy,” writes Martin.

Little is known about the specifics of the painting, such as when exactly he painted it and what attracted Burnley to the house. The painting, which measures 14 x 18 inches and is in a private collection, though is an accurate portrayal of the Brownfield house.

Below are two other images of the house, both provided to me by Curt Brownfield. He told me that he had to carry firewood up the ramp, “usually by throwing pieces up the hill and throwing or carrying the rest of the way up the steps.”

Brownfield House - Pre-regrade
Brownfield House – Pre-regrade
Brownfield House - Post-regrade
Brownfield House – Post-regrade


One thought on “Last House Standing – Part 2”

  1. This is Greg Brownfield, Curt’s son. I wish my dad could have seen the painting; it’s a wonderful portrayal of our family’s history on Denny Hill. My dad was an engineer but my mom was an artist. One of the best parts of the last few years of my dad’s life was being able to spend them in his home where all of my mom’s artwork still hangs. He would have loved this painting and would have been proud to see his family home portrayed this way.

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