Jack Hargis and David Brush, who owned The Bidwell House from 1960 to 1986, were responsible for uncovering the remarkable history of the house and for meticulously restoring it to its present magnificence. They amassed perhaps the best collection of 18th and early 19th century furnishings in Berkshire County and arranged for the property to become a museum after their deaths.
David Brush was from Hawthorne, New Jersey, and attended Parsons School of Design in New York City. An excellent draftsman and tailor, David became a designer of women’s apparel for Villager Sportswear in New York., specializing in dresses and suits.
His superb sewing ability and interest in antique textiles led him to tapestry restoration for the New York Historical Society. It is possibly owning to his interests that the museum has such a rich collection of textiles and needlework.
David’s extraordinary talent is evident in the excellent workmanship obvious in the Bargello rug in the parlor of The Bidwell House, which he designed and worked entirely by hand. The rug measures eleven feet by nine feet seven inches, worked in needlepoint with wool yarn. The pattern was inspired by a piece of 18th century needlepoint, also in The Bidwell House collection. A photo of the rug appears in the book Needlepoint by Hope Hanley, published by Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York 1975.