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  • Writer's pictureLyle

Secrets of the cover

People like the cover of my new book -- On a Cliff. Let’s take a peek inside the cover. Not inside the book, just inside the cover. The cover has a few “secrets” to uncover.

It is based on a watercolor by Thomas Buford Meteyard from about 1894-1900. Its title is Scituate Bay: The White Cliff. The cliff on the cover is actually even whiter than the original watercolor. But the cliff he painted was not white. Chalk it up to artistic license.

The fact is, the cliff is Third Cliff. The watery area above it is Scituate Harbor, with Lighthouse Point and the ocean in the distance. The beach in the foreground is Peggotty Beach. Look at the bridge in the upper center, just below the title. That’s the bridge from the harbor over to First Cliff, Second Cliff, and Peggotty Beach.

So why “Scituate Bay,” a term we don’t use today? I don’t know, but at the time of the painting, the name of the beach had changed from Bassing Beach to Peggotty Beach. I’m not sure what we would call the bay today, maybe the bay at Peggotty Beach.

But I am sure this is Third Cliff. Meteyard lived in Scituate in the late 1800s, with a house and studio on Meeting House Lane. He painted many scenes of Scituate’s marshes, seacoast, and the North River.

And here is another secret. My interest in history began with a man from the 1800s who retired to Scituate, George Lunt, whose biography I started and have not finished. His grandson was Thomas Buford Meteyard.

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