Making a Historic Tapestry Display-Ready

Behind the Scenes at 400 Beacon Street

  • Armin Sethna

In recent weeks, as Longyear has been putting the finishing touches on the renovation of Mary Baker Eddy’s final home in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, one of the biggest tasks (literally!) has been the installation of a piece of art in the gracious home’s back parlor.

At nearly 7 feet tall and more than 4½ feet wide, this image of “Jesus as the Good Shepherd” (or “The Good Shepherd”) is one of the larger works that hung in Mrs. Eddy’s Chestnut Hill and Pleasant View homes. It was also among her favorites: “All who visit my house are shown your painting,” she wrote to Daniel E. Fultz, of Spokane, Washington, who had sent it to her in 1901.1

Then and now (top center and above): Using historic photos for reference, a team of Longyear staff joined forces to ensure accurate measurement, trimming, and placement of the reproduced tapestry and banner in the back parlor of Mrs. Eddy’s Chestnut Hill home.

According to one visitor to whom Mrs. Eddy showed the painting, which depicts Jesus gently holding a little lamb and surrounded by a flock of sheep, she remarked: “See, how perfectly happy and contented they all seem? No crowding or pushing for place or position. They are all glad and willing to leave their future in the hands of their Shepherd.”2

Mr. Fultz produced his oil-on-fabric painting—modeling it on the popular original by German painter Bernhard Plockhorst—as a gift to thank Mrs. Eddy for what he called “this blessed Christian Science.”3 Plockhorst was creating his religious images at a time (late 1800s to early 1900s) that art prints were becoming increasingly common and affordable. This facilitated a wide audience for his work, including homes and churches across Europe and North America. Today, although the whereabouts of Plockhorst’s original “Good Shepherd” is unknown, the image lives on in various depictions—including as stained-glass windows and murals in churches across the United States.4

With permission from The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston Massachusetts, Longyear had a reproduction of the Fultz tapestry made for display in the renovated back parlor at 400 Beacon Street. Senior Graphic Designer Wendy Rankin worked closely with a professional printing shop on digital imaging, which provided life-size test images to facilitate accurate trimming and adjusting. Once the final canvas print was delivered to Longyear, it required several pairs of helping hands to get it display-ready and up on the wall. (See photo gallery, below.)

Given the size of the work, it also took Mrs. Eddy’s household a while to figure out how best to display it, and there was some consultation with Fultz on this issue. Eventually, it was hung from a rod, with fringe added to the bottom edge.5 Underscoring Mrs. Eddy’s regard for the work, she had a specially inscribed plaque created to hang above the artwork, emblazoned with the words:

The Christian Science Banner.

“His Banner over me was Love.”
                          Songs of Solomon, 2:4

You can imagine that the Longyear team certainly felt the significance of getting the tapestry placement and presentation just right, in justice to the historical record. Now, as we walk by this image, we like to think of the inspiration that this, and other Scripture-based art throughout the house, provided to Mrs. Eddy’s household staff and visitors.

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Enjoy the photo gallery below, which walks you through some of the key steps in this process—alongside the many staff who played a part in it. (Try to start on the far left, if you can!) The core members of the team included Senior Graphic Designer Wendy Rankin, Historic House Manager Rex Nelles, 400 Beacon Street Site Manager Chris Rankin, and Director of Collections Deb Wold.


  1. Mary Baker Eddy to D. E. Fultz, July 28, 1901, L14275, The Mary Baker Eddy Collection, The Mary Baker Eddy Library, Boston, Massachusetts (hereafter referenced as MBEL).
  2. Rev. Severin E. Simonsen, From the Methodist Pulpit into Christian Science, orig. 1928; Longyear Museum Press reprint, 157.
  3. E. Fultz to Mary Baker Eddy, May 17, 1901, IC278, MBEL.
  4. Dorothy Verkerk, “‘The Quiet Affection in Their Eyes’ Bernhard Plockhorst’s Jesus as the Good Shepherd,” Religion and the Arts 24 (2020), Brill, 353–378.
  5. The Christian Science Banner,” Mary Baker Eddy Library; January 2011