In 1902, Captain Joseph Sellwood commissioned Duluth architects Palmer, Hall, and Hunt to design a house for his daughter, Othelia, and her new husband, Leslie Leithhead, on the occasion of their marriage. In this fireplace surround from the home, two trees are depicted with their roots expressively exposed. The tiled scene was produced by the Grueby Faience Company, then one of the prominent manufacturers of art pottery and architectural ceramic work.
The design is attributed to Minneapolis-based interior designer John Bradstreet, whose Duluth Living Room is featured in Gallery 320, on the basis of several factors. The tree motif is similar to known Bradstreet compositions found in Duluth's Congdon mansion, "Glensheen," and in the Edson Woodworth residence of Minneapolis. As well, the Grueby company used outside artists during their early years, and may have come to Bradstreet, a Massachusetts man who retained east coast connections after settling in Minneapolis.