THE WORLD OF SAMUEL MEEKER, MERCHANT OF PHILADELPHIA, AND GILBERT STUART, AMERICAN PORTRAIT ARTIST

Monday, December 21, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Im Wald mit Schlapphut, und "Gardenarbeit!"

With a friend, in the forest, about 20 min away from where I live. Lots of forests in the mountains behind Santa Cruz.



Me, mit Schlapphut.



I wear the Schlapphut when I garden. This is my backyard, that is Lily over there in the back, see her reading? Thats my German bike in the foreground, and some odd box.




Thats me with Schlapput gardening at a friend's. We put in a lemon tree, a lime tree, and an avocado. That was only about 2 weeks ago.


My front yard.



A photo from the side. Two different kinds of grapes and kiwis grow on this trellis.
~

As you can see, I enjoy wearing my Schlapphut. And just like my ancestor Meeker, I derive satisfaction from the fruits of the earth! My own.....Fountain Green....
~


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

der erste Schultag


I don't normally do another post so fast, and please don't neglect to look at my previous post on Goethe and Schiller, which, actually I am so proud of! All the time I spent in Germany... in the beginning it was SO difficult when I didn't know the language or the culture. But by midway through the 10 years, a whole new world began to open up which has only enriched my life since then. It makes me sooooo happy, that I am able to tie in this culture to my Meeker painting, and Stuart.

But, I can not resist making this post. My blogging buddy Rouchswalwe , with my persistence, continues on with her own story of ....



the Zuckertüte, a Candy-Cone!
~
~
~
~
~
~
~

Monday, December 14, 2009

What do Schiller, Goethe, and William Grant (aka THE SKATER, portrait by Gilbert Stuart) have in common? a......HAT


Schiller (close friend of Goethe) travelling about on his mule in non-fashionable but practical outdoorwear in 1787.
~

In 1775 Goethe, dissatisfied with a life of being a lawyer in Frankfurt, accepted the invitation from Duke Karl Augustus to his court in Weimar, this tiny town in the middle of the forest of Thuringen. Rather than entering into an official day-to-day job at that point, the duke treated Goethe (already famed as the author of “The Sorrows of Young Werther”), as a friend and the two caused hot gossipy scandal (aristocracy on the same level as a non-noble!) by riding hard on wild jaunts lasting days or weeks through the forested countryside, camping, laughing, playing jokes on the locals, enduring fatigue and displaying physical prowess and love of sport.
Soon enough, settled in Weimar Goethe entered into a complex, not easily definable, virtuous love relationship with Charlotte von Stein, aristocrat at court, seven years older, married with children. The attraction was one of infatuation on Goethe’s part, tempered by the practical, stoic keen intelligence and restrained emotion on the part of the noble Stein, later blossoming into love, yet ending in the sudden departure of Goethe for Italy ten years later.

~

Charlotte and her husband were the owners of a small country estate called Gross Kochberg ( click here for a sketch of the estate by Goethe, a talented illustrator in his own right) , and here for a photograph. Today by car, one can reach this estate leaving Weimar in about an hour. In those days, it would take a day by horse, or a good 24 hrs to walk. Goethe would do both, to visit the lady of the manor. The tricorne or bicorne hats surely wouldn’t satisfy the need for protection against the elements. I mention all of this because, as many of you know, the weather in Germany can be really horrible; freezing and snowy in the winter, rain and thunder in the summer. So that romping through the wilderness that then existed between Weimar and Jena, or trekking to the country house of the beloved, all means that “weather appropriate” clothing is a necessity. In particular, a hat to protect the eyes and neck from the sun, providing warmth and protection from rain and snow, would be a must in those days when reaching a destination by walking or horseback was the norm... The tricorne or bicorne? no way. Thus, I believe that William Grant used, for his portrait, a FASHIONABLE form of this type of outdoorwear, nominally known in GERMANY as the Schlapphut. To see Goethe in Schlapphut click here.


the Skater (William Grant) by Gilbert Stuart 1782 National Gallery of Art
Is this a man projecting melancholy? (As proposed in Gilbert Stuart by Barratt and Miles referencing both Presssly and Evans). I believe, in short, this is a man of fashionable elegance and atheletic prowess and skill, with an air of happy self-satisfaction, to be out getting exercise!

The Barratt/Miles book describes the hat worn by the Skater as a “wide-awake hat” which makes no sense to me. The definition of a “wide-awake hat” is variably descibed as “inspired by the paramilitary campaign organization of the 1860s”, “popular in the American West during the late 1800's”, “affiliated with the Republican Party during the 1860 election” OR best definition “a hat with a low crown and very wide brim”.
Thus Grant chose a hat suitable for the weather for an outside activity on such a grey day; warm, protective against a possible snow flurry while engaging in sport out in nature, yet clearly an article of FASHIONABLE OUTDOORWEAR with a band around the base of the crown decorated with a buckle (as well as fancy buckles on his shoe/skates!). His whole outfit portrays elegance and up-to-date, practical fashion and proper gear for skating. Notice the peep of a tan leather glove, also indicative of expensive fashion, and the fur lapels. The stance, arms crossed, puts the viewer on notice that the skater has perfect balance, ie atheletic prowess, as he skates perfect circles etched into the ice. Notice in the background, the unfashionable bi-and tri-corne hats on the MEN, with arms flailing and legs wide apart, and ...poor saps... wearing NO GLOVES!


I believe that with the soaring popularity of Goethe, Schiller, and Kauffmann both in Europe and abroad, all promoting the love of nature at this time, the Schlapphut, already made popular by the German artists in Rome, became THE current article of fashion and can also be described as the headgear being worn by Stuart in his self-portrait.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I dedicate this blog to my daughter Lily, on my first blogiversary!

~
This blog is dedicated to Lily. Soon she will be spreading her diamantiferous wings, and flying away.



Harbor Highschool class photo, class of 2010, Santa Cruz California




Here is a bouquet of roses for Lily Grace!
~



And a 1998 photo of Lily, on the first day of school at the Nord Schule in Jena (Deutschland). Each child comes to the school, on the first day, with a "Zucker Tute" which is made by the parent, filled with candies and special delights. Naturally this makes for an

EXCITING DAY !!!!

my darling child, now grown up.

"Pure as the Lily, by the Grace of God."














~

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Swiss/Austrian painter and friend of Goethe; Angelika Kauffmann-- "The whole world is angelikamad!"... an unquestionable influence on GS

Portrait of Antonio Zucchi by Angelika Kauffmann, c. 1782
~
~
~
Portrait of William Grant by Gilbert Stuart 1782 (in England) The Skater
NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART Andrew W. Mellon Collection
~


Anna Maria Angelika Catharina Kauffmann, self portrait in Wälder Tracht
Innsbruck, Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum

For more on Angelika's (Possible/Highly Likely) Influence on Stuart (compare Kauffmann's portrait of Joshua Reynolds & Stuart's portrait of Benjamin Waterhouse posts March 11/12) click here.
~
In 1767 Angelika was caught up in an affair of the heart; she met and married an attractive elegant young man and quickly, rashly entered into a secret marriage. His name... 'Count Frederick de Horn'. After the marriage he insisted on taking over Kauffmann's financial affairs, she resisted and ultimately the marriage was undone when Frederick turned out to be an imposter.
In 1781, after the quick dissolution of this first marriage, Angelika wed the Venetian painter Antonio Zucchi (portrait above). The couple moved to the capital of the artworld, Rome. Her house on the Pincio, once inhabited by the painter Anton Raphael Mengs, became the social center of the European intellectual elite and bastion for lovers of art.
~
"In den siebziger Jahren [1870s] war die Nachfrage [demand] nach Gemälde und Nachstichen Kauffmanns oder nach Kauffmannesken Motiven so überwältigend, dass der dänische Botschafter Schönborn am 19. Oktober 1781 am Klopstock schrieb [wrote]: "the whole world is angelicamad"; ein Satz, der längst zum geflügelten Wort geworden ist.....
IN ENGLAND erlangte Kauffmanns Kunst internationalen Verbreitungsgrad allein durch die zahlreichen Punktierstiche, die nach ihren Werken gefertigt wurden....." from "Angelika Kauffmann 1741-1807 'Eine Dichterin mit dem Pinsel" Verlag Gerd Hatje, Dusseldorf 1998 p 31
~
~
"... die vielleicht cultivierteste Frau der Welt ...." Zeitgenosse Herder über Angelika Kauffmann
~
~
~

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The random monthly pick: Russell Sturgis, a Boston merchant involved in trade of hats, furs...... & ...opium.

Russell Sturgis Boston c 1822 by Gilbert Stuart
Worcester Art Museum; Gift of the Paine Charitable Trust, 1965.254
from Lawrence Park:
Russell Sturgis (1750-1826) was the second son of Thomas Sturgis (1722-1785) and Sarah, or Sally (Paine) Sturgis of Barnstable, Massachusetts. In 1773 he married Elizabeth Perkins. In or before 1771 he moved to Boston and started in the hat and fur trade. It is interesting to note that his name appears in the first Boston directory, published in 1789. He was a close friend of Gilbert Stuart, who painted three portraits of him.


Russell got his start in the hat and fur trade by apprenticing to his wife’s grandfather in Boston at age 16. He served in the Massachusetts milita, and was active in public affairs; fire warden in earlier years and worked as a representative for Boston in the Massachusetts state senate. "Sturgis's two brothers-in-laws were notable China traders. In 1795 Sturgis joined them in ownership of a new ship, the Grand Turk, which was sent to Canton in March 1796. When the Perkins brothers opened a branch office in Canton in 1803, Sturgis invested substantially, and three of Sturgis's sons subsequently voyaged to China. In 1818 all three were involved in the opium trade as partners in the firm of James P. Sturgis and Company." information from Wiki


Monday, November 23, 2009

Fountain Green, the Seat of Mr. S. Meeker

~
Fountain Green, as it was, when Meeker owned the property.

There seems to be a classical statue between the residence and the Schuylkill river; it can be recalled here that it was still common at this time for young men of privilege to undertake the Grand Tour, the educational rite of passage. Visiting Rome was a high priority, and classical artwork was the rage. ( I have no idea if Samuel took such a trip, but this would explain the presence of such artwork.) Three classic tall thin cypress trees would cast soothing shade in the area behind the statue. If one looks closely, the bath house seems to be in the distance on the far side of the house. Under the bridge exists a canal, about which Birch says, "Upon the half ascent of the bank from the river, the new canal will pass the house and if ever finished, will become a great ornament to the place."
However Emily Cooperman (editor, see below for citation) writes, "One of the principle motives behind the construction of the Schuylkill canal was to enable coal to be transported more readily from upriver. The portion of the canal shown in Birch's view does not survive."

It is almost certain that Samuel used this country estate as a second residence; for leisure activities, as a source to provide fresh foodstuffs, for entertainment (he was a member of the fox hunting club, the stall could hold up to eight horses), to escape the hot summers in the city, and to escape the periodic yellow fever epidemics which swept through Philadelphia every few years.
I speculate that it was here, in this residence, that Samuel and his twin sister Phebe celebrated their 40ieth birthday in 1803, when Samuel gifted his Stuart portrait to his sister. The two large rooms on the bottom floor, and the sprawling scenic grounds would have served very well for an elegant garden party!

"Fountain Green included 25 acres of land "divided into lots " and a "good two-story dwelling house, with two rooms on the first floor, three on the second, and two ceiled garrets; two stone wings, one occupied as a kitchen, the other as a lodging room; a good stone barn, with stable room for eight horses; a frame cow stable, having stalls for seven cows, and hay-loft above; a most excellent spring house, with suitable accomodations for a tenant, or overseer; a plunging bath, covered with a neat frame building, used as a wash house, two good bearing orchards of the best kinds of grafted fruit; highly cultivated [vegetable] gardens, and a variety of different kinds of fruit trees, and grape vines." (taken from the newspaper Claypoole's American Daily Advertiser) The Country Seats of the United States by William Russell Birch, edited & with introduction by Emily T. Cooperman, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia 2009

~
The non-pretentious air of the residence in terms of architecture (compared to the other country seats as depicted by Birch), the practical uses of the land (for animals, growing food & lodging), the calm bucolic beauty of the landscape.... point to a man who could balance his life between the creation of wealth in the city, and the pursuit of happiness in the undisturbed quiet of nature.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My ancestor's house turned into a brewery, and ...... a can of beer on my desk....Hopfen und Malz Gott erhalt's!

I just bought a CAN OF BEER on ebay (sitting on my desk in above photo)! But this is no ordinary can of beer, it is a collector's can issued in 1978 to "honor the men who created the Brewing Industry in this country." This brewery, called Engel and Wolf, was built on exactly the spot of my gt gt gtnth uncle Samuel Meeker's country estate, the only thing that seems to have stayed the same is the name, "FOUNTAIN GREEN". {there of course is no beer in the can altho there was when issued (two small holes on the bottom) &... if you look closely you can see the name 'Fountain Green' under the word BREWERY}
on the can
  • Charles Engel and Charles Wolf had the first large brewery in Philadelphia to make lager beer. It was conveniently situated beside the Columbia Railroad on the Schuylkill River about one mile above the Fairmount Waterworks
  • The brewery was built in 1849 at Fountain Green, now a part of Fairmount Park & included five large vaults cut out of solid rock for cooling and storage of their well known beer

&

  • Through this series of specially commissioned signed artwork "The History of American Breweries", we honor the men who created the Brewing Industry in this country.
  • The Huber Brewery has brewed for this Edition a CLASSIC BEER as it used to be.
  • We at Huber salute these vanished American breweries.
  • Hopfen und Malz Gott erhalt's! Hops and Malt God preserve them!



Fountain Green, a country estate owned by Samuel Meeker, eventually turned into a brewery. Most Fortuitously (for me), in 1800 British artist William Russel Birch set out to draw some of the finest country residences in the American Nation [The Country Seats of the United States of North America (1808)]; in these depictions not only the architecture of the villas but also the special role of nature is illustrated, he says in his introduction, "The comforts and advantages of a Country Residence, after Domestic accomodations are consulted, consist more in the beauty of the situation, than in the massy magnitude of the edifice......In the United States the face of nature is so variegated; Nature has been so sportive and the means so easy of acquiring positions fit to gratify the most refined and rural enjoyment, that labour and expenditure of Art is not so great as in Countries less favoured...."

One of these fine 'edifices' gracing the countryside on the banks of the Schuylkill River in Pennsylvania was known as Fountain Green purchased by Meeker at auction in 1799 from the merchant Johnathan Mifflin.


More on this house, and Birch's illustration of the country estate ...soon. As well as more on the BREWERY !

Saturday, November 14, 2009

1796 ~ Pennsylvania Ave is a common country road; a mud-bespattered President, and (like today!), a 'Washington Mess'

George Washington
IN the last entry the Tayloe house called the Octagon was described; built in Washington DC 1799 with the express intent to be near the center of political power, although at that time one needed to exercise much imagination to forsee such a development. In fact ...A Lot of Imagination!

The following descriptions are taken from "Social Life in the Early Republic" by Anne H. Wharton.

[1796] a common country road....

"Faith in things invisible was much needed in the early days of the capital, and for some years to come, when Pennsylvania Avenue was little better than a common country road. "On either side of this avenue," says Mr. Latrobe, "were two rows of Lombardy poplars, between which was a path often filled with stagnant water and with crossing-places at intersecting streets. Outside of the poplars was a narrow footway, on which carriages often intruded to deposit their occupants at the brick pavements on which the few houses scattered along the avenue abutted. In dry weather the avenue was all dust, in wet weather all mud; and along it 'The Royal George,' an old-fashioned, long-bodied four-horse stage, either rattled with members of Congress from Georgetown in a halo of dust, or pitched like a ship in a seaway among the holes and ruts of this national highway. The Capitol itself stood on the brink of a steep declivity clothed with old oaks and seamed with numerous gullies. Between it and the Navy Yard were a few buildings, scattered here and there over an arid common and following the amphitheatre of hills from the southeast around to the heights of Georgetown,--houses few and far between indicated the beginning of the present city." pp58-9

[1800] an American President bespattered with mud....

"An interesting and varied life was that of Washington and the older towns surrounding it in the early years of the last century [1800s]. Upon the heavy dirt road that stretched between the White House and the Capitol was often to be seen the spare, slight figure of the Democratic President, well mounted, not very well dressed, frequently unattended, and not seldom bespattered with mud, while nearby the elegant gilded coach of the French or Spanish minister made its way with difficulty throught the tenacious clay." p78

& "The Washington Mess"....

The following November, when Congress met in the federal city for the first time [1800], the White House was still in an unfinished condition, and accomodations for Congressmen were quite insufficient. The Indian Queen had not yet hung out its sign of the Princess Pocahontas, nor had the sun of the famous Gadsby's, dear to the Congressional soul, yet arisen. The cost of living in the federal city in these early days was not great. The rate at the Indian Queen, kept by one Jesse Brown, was one dollar and a half per day, brandy and whiskey being free,--all too free, it sometimes appeared, especially on holidays, when the landlord dispensed liberal potations of egg-nog from a huge punch-bowl that had been used at Mount Vernon. A few boarding-houses there were at this time; but the large army of impecunious ladies who made Washington a city of boarding-houses rather than a city of homes had not yet arrived. A little later we read of Mrs. Matchin's on Capitol Hill, where Mr. Varnum, from Massachusetts, Speaker of the House, resided, and of Mrs. Wilson's, also on Capitol Hill, where Mr. Clinton lived during his term as Vice-President, in company with five Senators and fifteen Representatives, composing what was familiarly spoken of as "The Washington Mess." p73
~
"Social Life in the Early Republic" by Anne H. Wharton; Corner House Publishers, Williamstown, Massachusetts 1970, first published 1902
~


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The random monthly pick: Mrs. John Tayloe and ghostly tales

Mrs. John Tayloe by Gilbert Stuart, Washington 1804
Ann Tayloe is probably most known nowadays for being the owner/resident of the famous house called “The Octagon” designed by Dr. W. Thornton (the first architect of the U.S. Capitol), which still exists today. The site of this home, 18th Street and New York Avenue, was only two blocks from the Potomac and its construction between 1799 and 1801 formalized a plan of streets, avenues, and parks in this still undeveloped, forested area of Washington. Ann’s husband, entrepreneur with political aspirations, had plenty of incentive to choose this undeveloped area to place their new home; it would be close to the center of power, just to the east the President's house was being built. The Tayloes were also quite patriotic and often entertained the likes of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and James Madison. During the war of 1812, the White House was burned by the British, and the Tayloes offered use of their house to President Madison and his wife Dolley as a temporary "Executive Mansion".
Here the Tayloes raised a family of 15 children, eight of which were daughters famed for their beauty and wealth. The Tayloes sold the Octagon in 1855, after Mrs. Tayloe's death. Today, the American Architectural Foundation owns the Octagon House.

Rather piquant; The Octagon is associated with GHOST STORIES. During the War of 1812, one of the Tayloe daughters fell in love with a British officer, and her father, solidly diasapproving of the romance, forbade her from seeing him further. After an illicit meeting with her lover, she snuck back into the house, her father caught her on the stairway and a violent argument ensued and somehow the young woman lost her balance and plunged over the spiral staircase to her death.
There are reports of a flickering candle shadow moving up the stairs, screams and
a thump at the bottom of the stairs! There are reports of Dolley Madison's ghost seen roaming the house after her death, still wearing her elegant clothes and the feathered turban! During the Civil War the place was used as a hospital. People still hear the sobbing and moans of the dead.......................


Ann Ogle Tayloe III (Mrs. John Tayloe III, 1772-1855) and her daughters Rebecca Plater Tayloe (1797-c. 1800) and Henrietta Hill Tayloe (Mrs. Henry Greenfield Sotheron Key, 1794-1832) 1799
Maryland Historical Society; artist is unattributed

From Lawrence Park:
Mrs John Tayloe
1773-1855
She was Ann Ogle, daughter of Governor Benjamin and Henrietta (Hill) Ogle of Maryland. She married John Tayloe in 1792, and from 1801 to her death was prominent in Washington social life.
Colonel John Tayloe
1771-1828
He was a son of the Honorable John and Rebecca (Plater) Tayloe of "Mt. Airy," Richmond County, Virginia. Educated at Eton, where he had as schoolmates the Duke of Wellington and George Canning, he was graduated from Christ Church, Cambridge, in 1791, and returned to America to assume control of the largest estate in Virginia and an income of $60,000. a year. In 1792 he married Ann Ogle and established a household unrivaled in Virginia for splendor. He was an active member of the Federal party and a warm friend of Washington, of whom he owned a portrait by Stuart. Defeated in 1799 for Congress; in the following year he built Octagon House in Washington, in which he passed his winters the remainder of his life, and became prominent in Washington social life. He was president of the first United States branch bank in Washington; commanded in 1812 the cavalry of the District of Columbia; built Willard's Hotel in 1818, and dying at Octagon House, was buried with his ancestors at "Mt. Airy."






Monday, October 19, 2009

having a brew and a bite ... leads to an INSIGHT on Gilbert Stuart

Just yesterday, I told Eric to swing by, we could ride the bicycles over to Seabright Brewery and have a brew and a bite to eat. Exercise, and a beer as a reward! The smell of the ocean...sunny Sunday afternoon!

Now I am recording this event here, because of an insight I gleaned into Gibby, by this conversation with Eric, who is an illustrator. He has a blog called "stream of consciousness comics." Eric often carries around a very small sketchbook, and at a whim will begin to draw (you can see it in the photo on the right). Here was our conversation:

"Let me seeeee Eric (I take his little sketchbook.) Oh poor lady..." (a sketch of a woman from a place he had just frequented a few days before, lots of old fasioned ringlets in her hair, and lines on her face.) I continued...."Did you see the sketch of me that my cousin did thats on the blog, I thought it made me look like the wickedwitchofthewest, skrawny mouth and absurd hair..." Eric responds. "Yea....thats why I don't like drawing women ... as much as men." I say ...."Right. Women need... (we struggle for the right word) ...more....flattery !"
I thought about that for a few moments. "Hey, I just had an INSIGHT! Maybe thats why Gilbert Stuart didn't draw as many women as men. I always thought that maybe one of the reasons for this is that...he is gay!" Eric responds, "Any evidence?"
I said, "Not really. I mean, you never know. He DID have 12 children. And just that he drew Sam Meeker with such love. But at this time you know, this was a big struggle for portrait artists, the question of how true to the sitter to be in a portrait, particularly if the female was not incredibly attractive. Men are less sensitive to this point. And Stuart was very stringent in wishing to portray his sitters as ACCURATELY as possible. So maybe he was bored with the reactions of women who were (often?) not entirely pleased with the results, expecting something more beautiful than... the reality....Maybe thats why he did so many more portraits of men!"
~
Well, and because of course, men had more of the "Wherewithal" .
~

Friday, October 16, 2009

Philadelphia 1828

Samuel was 65.
Twin sister Phebe Meeker Cochran/Brookfield is already deceased (1814), the portrait of Samuel Meeker is now in the hands of her daughter Mary Brookfield ~click here for family tree~ And therefore back in New Jersey, most likely in the Westfield area.

July 9, 1828 -- Gibby's death in Boston.



~

Monday, October 12, 2009

History of the ownership (PROVENANCE) of Mr. Meeker ...& lovely Edith, and a bit more of my own story

Edith (sister of my grandfather Ben Cory) moved back into the old Victorian in Fresno after my gt grandparents both were passed away, and she then by default was in possesion of Mr. Meeker. My first memory of the portrait was when it was with Edith but by then, unfortunately, the old Victorian which had taken up a block in downtown Fresno had been torn down and Edith was living on a farm in the nearby countryside, in Clovis. In her older age she was taken care of by two "Oakies." My mom told me that yes Edith did get married, but she had fallen out of a carriage and could not have children. (For the story of my first memory of the portrait click here.)


PROVENANCE with notes

•Given by the sitter Samuel Meeker to his twin Phebe Meeker (1763-1815) Phebe married 1) Cochran (merchant, first business partner of Samuel) and a second marriage to 2) Job Brookfield. [It can be presumed that the portrait was gifted, and not inherited, as Samuel lived many years longer than Phebe. At Phebe's death the portrait was in her posession and passed to...

•Daughter Mary Brookfield (1807-after 1856) m. John Ludlum Martin a physician in Rahway, NJ

•Son Thomas Mulford Martin (1831-1917) of Rahway NJ [a bookbinder, see his photo here]

•Oldest daughter Emma Martin of Princeton, NJ (lends portrait to Philadelphia Museum of Art, see sticker on back of painting regarding this) presumably upon her death the portrait goes to sister Carrie Martin Cory (1862-1938) & portrait is taken to California. Carrie is married to Lewis L. Cory of San Jose, Ca. Lewis Cory (Princeton and Columbia Law) was a prominent corporate litigation attorney in the city of Fresno, Ca. He argued cases before the US Supreme Court. [for a family photo of Carrie and her husband Lewis Lincoln Cory click here] Lewis was second son of Benjamin Cory, who traversed the plains (click here for his story and an original letter) in 1847 and was the first doctor in San Jose, Ca.

•Daughter of Carrie and Lewis (pictured at the top of the post), Edith Cory (1884-1976) (no issue)

•Niece Carolyn Elizabeth Cory (1928-) [daughter of Edith's brother Benjamin Hyde Cory (1896-1983) my grandfather]-Carolyn is my mother, {click here to see marriage photo} , who met my dad John Ahrens at Stanford University. They were married in the spring of '49 in Carmel, Ca.

•Daughter Elizabeth Ahrens-Kley (me); Santa Cruz, Ca. I married a German Willy Kley, now a professor of astrophysics at the University of Tuebingen, Germany. Our daughter Lily lives with me here in Santa Cruz. She is now applying to different Universities, Princeton will be one as that is where Pops (Benjamin Cory) and his dad (Lewis Cory) both graduated.
I have two brothers John and Paul, but neither were interested in the old portrait. Too bad for them, but lucky for me! ...and lucky for Samuel, for who knows where he could have ended up, without my research!! To discover an unknown Gilbert Stuart at this late date, how cool is that!
~
~
~
For graphic of the family tree from Carrie to Samuel Meeker click here (note that the father is also a Samuel Meeker.)
~

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The random monthly pick; Mrs. Isaac P. Davis and her sister; and 'high praise' for portrait painter Thomas Sully

Mrs. Isaac P. Davis and her sister Mrs. Bernard Henry by Gilbert Stuart 1806

As usual, it seems to be easier to find out more about the relevant male-- but in any case from there we can extrapolate just a bit about the life of this young lady named Susan, on the right. From L. PARK; "Mrs. Davis was Susan Jackson, and Mrs. Henry was Mary Jackson, daughters of Doctor David and Susan (Kemper) Jackson of Chester County, Pennsylvania. Susan Jackson married, in 1807, Isaac P. Davis (1771-1855) of Boston, a very intimate friend of Stuart, and Mary married Bernard Henry of Philadelphia." ..."Mrs. Davis, the head at the right of the picture, is shown with a smiling face, brown eyes and hair, and a fresh complexion, with her head slightly tilted towards the right. Mrs. Henry has a fresh complexion, but eyes of a darker brown, and her brown hair has a reddish tinge, and her expressionn is serious."
~
Isaac P. Davis (1771-1855), Boston merchant, manufacturer and businessman, was the brother of Judge John Davis, politician, statesman, historian who served as president of the Massachusetts Historical Society (1818-1835), and was said to be the first person to refer to the Plymouth colonists as pilgrims. Isaac was close friends of Daniel Webster, and of Gilbert Stuart. The Stuart portrait of Daniel Webster {click here for the Stuart portrait of Webster (and the titillating story of his relationship with miniaturist and colleague/student of GS Sarah Goodridge) entries April 15, 18, 2009} was painted for Isaac and hung for many years in his parlor.
~
the following below is from “The Penn magazine of history and biography, Vol 32 “ by Historical Society of Pennsylvania --
( note: Thomas Sully (1783-1872) was a well-known English-born American portrait painter)
I tried to find the Sully portrait of Isaac P. Davis but was not successful.
~
Isaac P. Davis was an early patron and friend of American artists and meeting Sully at Stuart’s, when Sully made his first call, offered to sit for his portrait to Sully, that Stuart might see what Sully could do. Accordingly Davis sat, as entered in the Register, and the picture was shown to Stuart. After looking at it attentively for some time he said, “Keep what you have got and get as much as you can,” which was high praise from Stuart, who usually advised to forget what you knew and not try again.

~

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More on Dolley Madison, saving the Gilbert Stuart portrait of Washington, her slave Jennings, and ....Daniel Webster!

Dolley Madison painted by Gilbert Stuart 1804, White House Collection
Dolley Madison by William Elwell 1848; National Portrait Gallery
Click here for a great telling of the story of Dolley Madison, asking the question, how/who really saved the Stuart portrait of Washington! from *18th-century American Women--a museum in a blog*

an historical mystery...

Below is MY COMMENT, but I recommend you read the entry first... ! and if anyone has more thoughts/chooses to do more research on this, please comment as well!
~
Super.
Re: "Mrs. Madison was a remarkably fine woman. She was beloved by every body in Washington, white and colored. Whenever soldiers marched by, during the war, she always sent out and invited them in to take wine and refreshments, giving them liberally of the best in the house."
So did Mrs. Madison really save the Stuart portrait, or is Jennings correct? Perhaps there is truth to both sides, Dolley did not stand there while the portrait was being cut and taken down, but ordered it to be done (and she flees)...why would servants risk their safety in the face of the approaching British, if there was no order to save the portrait? She was a "remarkably fine woman" according to Jennings. Seems likely she would possess the wherewithal, composure and intelligence to recognize the value of the portrait of Washington, and knew that its safety would be jeopardized....Anyway, super entry, I would like to mention it in my blog, if you don't mind?
~
her response:
Please do, Beth. And thank you! Barbara

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gibby's pigs lead the way home


As mentioned in the last entry, J.D. Herbert is an important source on Stuart's Irish years. The following is related in G. Mason.


Herbert was invited by Stuart to visit him at his residence, promising to give him a bed and that he should "dine on pork fed on apples." The invitation was accepted.

"On the ensuing Sunday I went to Stillorgan, and as I walked up a narrow road that led to that quarter from the Black Rock, I saw some very pretty pigs; it struck me at one moment's view that they belonged to Stuart, and that I could not be distant from his house: to try that I was right in my conjecture, I took up little pebbles and threw them at them. They ran on and I followed. They led to a gate, into which they entered. It lay open, and before the house I saw Stuart, tending some flower-pots.

"'Ha,' said he, 'you are come.'

"Yes, please the pigs.'

"Then I told him how they had led me. He was delighted at the recital, and more complimented than anything I could say in praise of his pictures. He said, 'You shall taste pork today of their kind, and you will acknowledge my plan to be a good one for feeding them.' He then took me to his garden, which was well cropped, all by his own hands; walked me over the grounds, and pointed out his skilll in farming; he valued himself more on these points than on painting. ...We then got back to the house, and dinner was served. I ate the apple-fed pork, and was greatly pleased with it. Stuart entertained me till bed-time...Many other anecdotes followed, which would spin out a rare tale."


Sunday, September 20, 2009

the true meaning of wealth and power to Gibby was not nobility nor aristocracy

This iconic masterpainter one day disappeared from the grand digs in London, and the suggestion is that the sudden and secret flight of the artist and family was to escape pressing debts. Finally he turned up in Dublin at the apparent invitation of the Duke of Rutland, who inconveniently passed away at the same time as our Gibby and family arrived. Shockingly, Gilbert landed into debtors prison but recovered his animal spirits by setting up his easel behind bars, and the local gentry flocked there to have their portrait painted.
~
The artist lived for a time in the city but soon bought a farm at Stillorgan. Here he was able to tend to his garden and farm animals, including his beloved pigs. J.D. Herbert is an important source on Stuart's Irish years (about 1787-1793). Herbert visited Stillorgan and relates the following;

"He then took me to his garden, which was well-cropped, all by his own hands, walked me over the grounds, and pointed out his skill in farming......I cordially confessed that I should rather see his works in his painting-room, that I was ignorant of farming, gardening, or feeding pigs. He pitied me very much, observing what a loss I sustained by not attending to the cultivation of that on which mankind were supported and rendered wealthy and powerful." Herbert found that the artist was more pleased by praise of his "very pretty pigs" than by "anything I could say in praise of his pictures."
next... more on the pigs


Friday, September 18, 2009

"Re-Creating Gilbert Stuart"; excerpts from an essay on the history of American frames by W. Adair

reprinted here, image/text with permission from W. Adair


Gilbert Stuart portraits were framed in a variety of frame styles: From left: the frame for Thomas Coffin Amory’s portrait featured oak leaf ornamentation (1810) considered appropriate for a masculine subject; Isaac Coffin’s portrait (1810) was framed with an even denser oak leaf ornamentation; Sarah Linzee’s portrait (1807) was reframed several decades later in a Greek Revival style frame; and Mrs. Thomas Amory’s portrait featured a frame with alternating anthemion and wreath ornamentation (1806).


Historical Background
During the eighteenth century in this country, the frames used to enhance the work of serious and aspiring American artists were generally imported from England and Europe and thus displayed traditional European designs. By comparison, paintings by itinerant American limner painters were often given modest frames of plain boards that could be made by American cabinetmakers or carpenters working in a vernacular idiom. The dull, black, painted finish on such frames, applied to a molding shaped by chisels and gouges, answered the needs of sitters who lived in rural areas and who were not tempted by the elaborate European designs seen in urban homes. Providing a simple setting for a painter’s own straightforward approach, the modestly profiled and painted frame stands as one of the first American contributions to the art of picture framing.



The tradition of frame making is best described as a blend of cabinetmaking, sculpture, and painting. Frames showing mastery of all three skills satisfy the demands of a sophisticated collector. Historically, the most valuable frames have been hand-carved and gilded in the traditional European manner with genuine gold leaf, with the wood first prepared with successive coats of gesso and clay mixed with hide glues in the great tradition of the Italian Renaissance. The English swept-corner reflects this great tradition and was typical of urban mid-eighteenth century American portraits of quality. Frames at that time typically cost a little less than half the value of the portrait, depending on the artist and frame maker. They were sometimes imported from London and sometimes carved in America "in the latest style."


William B. Adair received his B.F.A. in Studio Art from the University of Maryland in 1972. For the next 10 years he worked for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery as a museum conservator specializing in the treatment of picture frames. In 1982 he formed his own company, Gold Leaf Studios, for the making of frames and the conservation of gilded antiques. Over the years his clients have included the U.S. Department of State and the National Park Service. He is the founder of the International Institute for Frame Study, a non-profit archive dedicated to collecting and disseminating information on the history of frames.



He can be reached via e-mail at bill@goldleafstudios.com.

http://www.goldleafstudios.com/about.html

Monday, September 14, 2009

Or, WAS the frame on the Meeker portrait purchased in the 1860s, ie. is not the original? Where was the portrait in the 1860s?

A FAMILY PHOTO circa 1901
Thomas Mulford Martin and wife Catherine (my gt gt grandparents) of RAHWAY NJ on the left, their daughter Carrie (my gt grandmother in the middle), husband Lewis from San Jose California (very right, gt grandfather), & their 5 children, my Pops is the youngest boy. Thomas would have been in possession of the portrait in the 1860s. The senior Martins are visiting my gt-grandparents in Fresno, California in this photo. Pops passed away in 1983, my mom lives here in Santa Cruz. She is 81 (see entry March 1 09 for a darling photo.)



The expert on American frames (and conservation) Hugh wrote me: "Then there is the question of whether the frame is American or an English import. Reeded top moldings with ribbon bindings occur in the UK around 1800, but I believe they are not generally popular here till circa 1860."

So, now I don't know whether the frame is English (possibly part of a Meeker shipment from Liverpool--->New Orleans---> Philadelphia?) or purchased later, ie an American frame, possibly when some repairs/conservation (relining) were done on the portrait? So let me take a closer look at the family, to see where the portrait would be at this particular time, in the 1860s. The portrait would now be with my gt gt grandfather Thomas Mulford Martin (1831-1917). He and his wife Mary Catherine (Ayers) and 3 daughters Carrie (my gt grandmother who married the Californian), Jennie (Jane), and Emma lived in Rahway New Jersey: the census of Union County NJ 1900 shows him to be a manufacturer of book bindings. Perhaps this elegant looking frame caught his eye, and wanting to refurbish the portrait he also changed the frame? Thomas was the grandson of Phebe Meeker, Samuel Meeker would have been his gt uncle.



Perhaps the gold leafing can tell us more?
One thing we can be certain of, the Meeker portrait was still in the East in the 1860s...


I just talked to Bill Adair, for about an hour on the phone. He is very knowledgeable on American frames.

A comment from William Adair, Gold leaf Studios, Washington, DC.
(goldleafstudios at gmail.com)
Hi, I think it is also a revival frame from the last quarter of the 19th century, it has no spline on the reverse, the width of the moulding is consistent with Victorian era frames, the painting has been relined, and other issues such as the fact that it is oil gilded lead me to the conclusion that it is a frame that is not original to the painting.
~
The frame is, most likely, Victorian! More info on the differences in the style of this particular frame (between English and American), will follow when Bill has the time to send me some scans.
~
~

Saturday, September 12, 2009

the Stuart frame continued..."wood type and quality, bole color, gold leafing method".... THE PLOT THICKENS

the German influence and the importance of context
I sent this photo to the conservator in my last letter, so that he could see the profile of the frame, and have a more detailed view of the gold-leafing.
On Fri, Sep 4 I wrote the expert back:
Dear Hugh,

Thanks so much for your input on my questions about the frame.
Yet now, I do have a couple more questions for you. I wonder what makes you believe that, "based on the picture, the frame is not original"?
There exist at least two G. Washington portraits with the same frame (suggested to be original with the portrait) ("reeded top moulding with cross straps, a plain deep cove, a bead and flat liner")-- and this would be a few years before the painting of my portrait which I figure was done about 1803. I also have no reason to believe that some generations back someone in the family changed the frame...
&
re: "it has been lined and fitted with a later stretcher" What does the word "lined" mean?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~He wrote back 5 days later (I am ALWAYS appreciative of replies):

Dear Beth,
I have not forgotten your frame question. I say "based on the picture" because I get so much more information by looking at the object, for example, details like wood type and quality, bole color, gold leafing method, shade of gold, quality of compo or any carving, etc. A view of the outer edge would also be helpful to see if it is coved, the shape of the cove, whether it is painted or gilded, etc. The pattern of nail holes caused by holding the stretcher in the frame also can be considered.

Then there is the question of whether the frame is American or an English import. Reeded top moldings with ribbon bindings occur in the UK around 1800, but I believe they are not generally popular here till circa 1860. Again, based on the pictures, the frame appears to be American.

The lining of a painting involves adding a new support (often canvass) to the back, and I only mention it in passing. The replaced stretcher is more relevant; an original stretcher can be a significant help in determining whether a frame is original, and in this case that information is now lost.

I hope this helps. As I continue to study American frames I will remember your question and will let you know of any new information.

Best, Hugh


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This response was informative. I had never even thought of the issue, is the frame American or English? (Although as has already been mentioned, the issue of whether the canvas is American or British has been raised, it is British.) I decided to write back with details as to why I think the frame is most likely original, and thereby (according to Hugh) most likely British. Afterall, is the context not of high interest? To study something out of the context can not aid in understanding it seems to me. (Another example of this is the fact that in almost all studies/bios of Stuart, it seems that minimal attention is paid to the fact that there was a significant German immigration/population in Philadelphia at the time ("Germantown"), that at this time Goethe was the blazing cultural star.....{possible influence on the concept of the "Skater"?})

I wrote back:

Dear Hugh,

All very interesting, thanks for taking an interest in this, etc! If I could bring the portrait to you, I would, but it is not really feasible because both I and the portrait are in Santa Cruz, Ca. So..... when do you take trips to San Francisco, if ever? I would invite you over for the day in Santa Cruz, and then you could study the portrait!

The sitter in this Stuart portrait is Samuel Meeker (if you wikipedia him, I am the one who wrote a small entry), and in the late 1790s he had a shipping firm in Philadelphia called Meeker, Denman & Co-- his cousin William Meeker (also painted by Stuart) was their agent in London. William died in 1812, 'en route to New Orleans' so I believe that he died on the way home to the states from England, possibly as a tragic event due to the war of 1812. Samuel was a leading shipping merchant, and its very possible that the ships that took American goods out to Liverpool, brought back English items. Possibly frames? This type of reeded frame with cross straps was the original put on Stuart's G. Washington frame which was painted late 1790s, so surely it was/became popular before the 1860s?

There has been some compo repairs to some of the decor on this Meeker frame, when it fell over on its face, at my mom's house. She had taken it off the wall in her house because the walls were about to be painted! But otherwise I would have no reason to believe that any family member back to my gt grandmother would have decided to put this frame on the portrait, altho its possible. Going back further, my gt grandmother's gt grandmother Phoebe Meeker was gifted the portrait by her twin brother Samuel Meeker--Phoebe ended up getting a divorce so she would not have changed the frame, nor her daughter..... Somehow just thinking about this logically, it doesn't make sense that anyone other than the "wealthy sitter" purchased this frame in about 1803... 1803 was the last year Stuart was in Philadelphia, 1803 was the year the newly formed bank in which Meeker was one of the Directors (the Philadelphia National Bank, see book by Wainright) gave its first loan to Meeker, Denman & Co., 1803 was the year the twins Samuel and Phoebe turned 40... It just seems to be logical that Samuel might have been pleased to have the same frame put on his portrait as George did....Its very, very easy to imagine. Meeker liked to show every evidence of success, he even owned a country estate on the Schuylkill.
What I am telling you here, took years to piece together. Other Stuart sitters ... are more well-known...

Yes, I have been doing lots of research, since the portrait came from my mom to me. The frame is something I am no expert on, thats why what you have to say is so interesting. Its hard to take good quality photos close up--the two photos of the back which I sent you were taken with a high resolution camera. In my opinion there is no carving...It seems to me the only part not gilded is the outmost smallish part of the frame~ Is there a way I can photograph that would be more helpful? What does 'bole color' mean?
I am sending a new pic which should be at the bottom of this note, which should give you an idea of the profile and a closer look at the leafing.

Have a very good day,
remaining your obedient servant
Beth






Friday, September 4, 2009

tinker? tailor? soldier? spy? No! AN EXPERT !

a replica of the famous Landsdowne portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart 1796-97
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

Sorry about how small the image is above, but you the reader will be barely able to make out the outlines of the frame around this portrait, topped by ornate patriotic national symbols (to honor the subject George Washington.) Now, compare that frame to the frame around Meeker as shown below. (Meeker of course is without the special topping.) But, what does one logically think? Naturally, the frame on my portrait originates from this particular time period, without a doubt. ('Choose a frame that also adorns Washington's portrait?' thought my ancestor, 'why, sounds like a great idea!') So one can logically make the conclusion that, unless a past family member of mine went to a whole bunch of trouble to have such a frame copied as shown above, it must be original. My past family (particular members who owned this portrait at one time or another) do not have a reputation for 'wasting/being lavish with money.' (About gt gt Aunt Emma {from Princeton, see entry June 4 09 and click on family tree image}, sister of Carrie who brought Meeker to California, the story is told that she counted her multitudes of silver every night before locking it up, afraid it seems that the tiniest little piece might be swiped.) When I saw the portrait above in the book "Gilbert Stuart", the MET edition by Carrie Barratt and Ellen Miles, and a bit later read " The late 18th century gold leaf portrait frame with 'a triple reeded top molding with cross straps occurring at 12” intervals, a plain deep cove, a bead and flat liner” went with painting directly from Bingham to the Pennsylvania Academy." I thought BINGO... ...its orginal.



Last weekend I wrote an expert, to see what he would say. Just out of curiosity. He is a conservator at Williamstown Art Conservation Center. He wrote back! That was nice, but I was....lets say, somewhat surprised!
***
Dear Beth
I have shared your pictures with colleagues at work. Based on the pictures the frame is not original. We take the painting to be late 18th early 19th century and it has been lined and fitted with a later stretcher. The cove frame with its reeding, bindings of ribbon, and small compo ornament is later. Your frame is still good for the portrait because it has some of the simplicity of early frames. We see it is gilded with gold leaf.

If you are local to us in Williamstown Mass you can bring it in so we can see it more clearly. I hope this helps. Let me know of any questions. Hugh
~
TO BE CONTINUED (hopefully, I have written him back)
~

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The random monthly pick: Mrs. Barney Smith... and a famous country estate tells a story of a disgraced loyalist from the Revolutionary times

detail: Mrs. Barney Smith

The Random Monthly Pick
*
A new feature, I will make a random monthly choice of a Stuart sitter, and tell their story as best I can!
*
Mrs. Barney Smith, or Ann, was married in 1783 to Barney Smith of Taunton, Massachusetts, a Boston importer. They were the parents of three children, all of whom were painted by Stuart. The principle item of interest pertaining to this couple seems to be that Barney bought and occupied the "Governor Hutchinson estate in Milton" (from Lawrence Park). Thus, here I take a closer look at the story of the Governor and his famous country estate in Milton, Massachusetts.

Mrs. Barney Smith (1755-1843) by Gilbert Stuart, Boston 1817
*
Thomas Hutchinson was the last royal Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and built in 1734 a country estate boasting spectacular views of the Neponset River and its tidal salt marshes, the Boston skyline, and the Boston Harbor Islands. He was a prominant Loyalist in the years before the American Revolution but his zealous loyalty to the crown inspired ridicule in the years leading up to the Revolutionary War, and, in 1774, shortly after the Boston Tea Party, Hutchinson fled to England.

“Hutchinson, naturally drawn to Milton, his great-grandfather having been one of its first settlers, made this his country seat in 1743, and it was his summer home from that time until his departure for England, in June, 1774, when things were becoming warm in Boston. After the destruction of his elegant town house at the North End, by the Stamp Act mob, this was his principal dwelling. Here he awaited the action of the people in the Old South Meeting-house, assembled on the eve of the “Boston Tea Party;” and here came “Quaker” Rotch, at their command, with his request for a pass for the Dartmouth with her cargo to clear forthwith, upon the refusal of which the “detested tea” was tipped overboard. Whatever may have been his faults as a crown officer, Hutchinson was a good Miltonian and made himself “respected and loved by all his neighbors.”...When he left for England, as it happened, never to return, “he walked from his home along the road, bidding adieu to his neighbors, and shaking hands with them. When near Dorchester Neck (now South Boston), he got into his carriage, which had followed him, and drove to Dorchester Point, where a boat was waiting to take him on board the Minerva.” further “After the Lexington affair, the house was taken possession of by the town, and subsequently confiscated. “Washington, it is said, rides in my coach to Cambridge,” Hutchinson mournfully writes in his diary upon receipt of letters from America. ............” (from “Walks and rides in the country round about Boston” by Edwin M. Bacon, for the Appalachian Mountain Club, Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston and NY, The Riverside Press, Cambridge 1898; p.323)
~~~~~
~~~
One can imagine that members of the Barney Smith family were indeed very proud to be owners of this historical house!
*

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Jane Stuart, daughter of Gilbert Stuart; an artist in her own right &...an 'irritable temperament'...

Mrs. William Bailey, by Jane Stuart
courtesy Redwood Library and Athenaeum

The Stark Mansion: "Flowers, books, old-fashioned furniture, and pictures of the choicest are everywhere. A fine portrait of General John Stark, painted in 1830 by S. Morse, the inventor of the telegraph, is hung on the wall at the right. Facing the door another beautiful portrait is seen. This is of Miss Charlotte Stark and was done by Jane Stuart, the daughter of Gilbert Stuart." (The third picture is of Daniel Webster, who had his miniature done by Goodridge as you, my readers, might remember!) Historic Homes of New England, Mary Northend; Little, Brown, & Co., Boston, 1914.


***
As a young girl Jane would go to her father's studio to help him with chores including the grinding of pigments. She would listen to her father instructing his students, and in time she started copying some of his paintings. In 1827 she had one of her paintings exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum. She was 15. When her father died the next year, deeply in debt and leaving an estate valued at only $375, Jane became financially responsible for the family and began selling copies of her father's paintings, particularly portraits of Washington.


The Redwood Library (Redwood Library and Athenaeum, 50 Bellevue Ave., Newport RI) has organized what may be the first exhibit of Jane Stuart’s paintings since her death 1888. It ends soon!

Newport's Own: Portraits by Jane Stuart

"A collaborative exhibition of the work of artist Jane Stuart (1808 - 1888) by the Redwood, Newport Historical Society, Preservation Society of Newport County, with additional paintings on loan from the Newport Art Museum, the Boston Athenaeum, the Museum of Art RISD, Peabody Essex Museum, and the State of Rhode Island. Guest curated by Linda Eppich, Archivist / Grant Writer at The Preservation Society of Newport County. Covering the period of the 1840s to the late 1870s, the exhibition includes 16 original portraits and copy work by Jane Stuart, plus biographical information about the sitters. The 12th child of Gilbert and Charlotte Stuart, she was a leading portrait painter in Newport. Although she never received any formal training, she was a key assistant to and regarded as the best copyist of Gilbert Stuart. Jane Stuart exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum as early as 1827, and had an exhibition at the American Academy of Fine Arts in New York in 1833. We are unaware of any exhibition devoted to Jane Stuart since her death in 1888, and this exhibition is an attempt to bring greater recognition to this 19th century artist."
***
From Curator Linda Eppich: "In addition to her painting, Jane was also the keeper of her father’s flame. In fact, much of what we know about Gilbert Stuart comes from a series of reminiscences written by Jane and published in Scribner’s Monthly magazine. In one such article, titled “Anecdotes of Gilbert Stuart,” Jane concedes that her father had an “irritable temperament,” but justifies it by pointing to the constant flow of visitors that passed through his studio. “While he was engaged with his whole soul in portraying the character of some remarkable person, his door would be besieged by persons who must see him, and, frequently, for the most trifling purpose,” she recalled. “At times he would be so disturbed as not to feel like going into his painting-room again for the whole day.”
~
I'm sure we can ....all ...relate!
~
 
Site Meter