George Sand’s portrait hangs in the second-floor guest room of the house, as it did in the 1931 photographs.
Sarah Orne Jewett spent a summer learning French so that she could read George Sand in her native language. Sand’s Légendes Rustiques, 1858, with its depiction of the French countryside, can be seen as an influence on Jewett’s portrayal of the rural Maine landscape and its people.
George Sand—the pen name of French novelist and memoirist Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin— lived a bohemian lifestyle, known to wear men’s clothing, for its comfort, while travelling and to occasionally enjoy a cigar. She had passionate love affairs, famously with composer Frédéric Chopin. Jewett admired the freedom with which Sand lived. After learning that Sand had gone into a river fully dressed one day, Jewett wrote to a friend, “that great woman who was always burdened and excited by her great living and thinking found perfect joy in being a wild creature for a little while…” (Letter to Louise “Loulie” Dresel, August 1890, Folder A14: to Louisa Loring Dresel, 1886-1898, Gift of Colby Library Associates, Colby College Special Collections, Colby College)