A new face made an appearance in the chamber last night at City Hall, although he is certainly not a stranger to Newton city government.
A portrait of James F.C. Hyde, Newton's first mayor, was unveiled last night in the Aldermanic Chamber. The portrait was restored by a local fine arts conservator after spending years in the attic at City Hall.
Many aldermen and members of the Historical Commission stopped by the chamber last night to marvel at the restoration, which was done by Mark Sirdevan of West Newton. According to City Clerk David Olson, Sirdevan gave a "very reasonable" bid for the restoration, which was funded by monies from the Community Preservation Committee.
Hyde, who was a descendant of one of Newton's first settlers, worked as town moderator and as a selectman before Newton became a city, Olson explained.
During the brief ceremony Monday night, Olson said the portrait was originally painted in 1874 by Nahum Onthank, who lived on Cherry Street and also Washington Place (Austin Street) in Newton before moving to Boston.
One of Onthank's decedents, Benjamin Onthank, was also on hand last night to take a look at the restored painting.
The painting was eventually donated to the city by Mayor Hyde's daughter in 1930, just as construction finished at the current City Hall. The portrait was placed on the wall in room 209, but eventually moved to a storage space in City Hall's attic.
Then, 12 years ago, former Historic Newton Curator of Manuscripts and Photographs Susan Abele retrieved the painting from the storage space. However, it had sustained some significant damage during its time in the attic, Olson said.
An image of the painting in its damaged condition was on display last night next to the restored work.
Board of Aldermen President Scott Lennon encouraged members of the public to stop by City Hall in their free time and view the portrait.