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

Sunday, March 1, 2009

March 1, 2009

Today is my Mom's Birthday, she turns 81. The family celebrated yesterday, and afterwards lovely Lily and I went over to my cousin Craig's to visit with family in San Francisco. There we talked, walked in Golden Gate park, and, then, well, I felt like Sir Joshua Reynolds--the Royal Academy president and principal painter to King George III, who sat for Stuart in 1784, when he was 61. To quote a description of this portrait from the book Gilbert Stuart by Barratt & Miles: "he [Joshua] is aged, weak in the jaw, obviously deaf, and shown without allusion to his profession. ...Sir Joshua rejected the image, protesting that ‘if [Stuart's portrait] was like him, he did not know his own appearance!’ ” Yet despite being discouraged with the piercing accuracy of Stuart's portrayal, it seems that this did not prevent Reynolds from later recommending Stuart to other customers, and from Gilbert Stuart... "On the contrary, the picture endeared Stuart to Reynolds."

But back to my mom for the moment. She is pictured above at her marriage in Carmel, Ca April 1949... Pops is behind her; who many years later lived with my parents before passing away, and because of his request, the Portrait was hung in my mom's small sitting room. These two are direct descendents of Phebe Meeker, twin sister of the sitter. Pop's mother Carrie brought the Portrait from New Jersey to California. Nowadays mom is healthy, reasonably wealthy, and certainly wise, and we had a great Mexican feast to celebrate.
Here is a small bio she wrote for the Senior complex where she now happily resides;
My name is Carolyn [Cory] Ahrens, and I’m a native Californian going back three generations. I was brought up in Carmel, attended Carmel High, UC Berkeley, and graduated from Stanford in 1949. There I met my late husband John, and we had three children before moving to Asia because of John’s job with Bank of Anerica. We lived a total of 17 years in Tokyo, Ashiya, Bangkok, Bombay, and Manila. I very much enjoyed exploring new cultures, making new friends, and travelling throughout Asia and Europe. After we returned, we settled in Menlo Park, and about a year ago I moved to Santa Cruz where all my children, and grandchildren are presently living. I enjoy family, bridge, reading, and taking walks with my dog Sophie.


Sketch by Craig Marshall, Feb 28, 2009
to continue: After the birthday lunch Lily and I went to Craig's, and my artist cousin proceeded to oblige me with a demonstration of his incredible talent. And I was obliged to reflect on how Sir Joshua Reynolds felt when he saw his portrait. My thoughts were ............I can relate !.....
What has happened to the lovely lushness of YOUTH ?
But, the sketch also has something super endearing about it.
I will frame it~

3 comments:

emikk said...

Your cousin really knows how to push a pencil, looks great.

marius said...

is this the same craig marshall that teaches at the academy of art in san francisco?

StimmeDesHerzens said...

Yes, same Craig Marshall. He is my first cousin. (my father and his mother were siblings) He is not related therefore to Meeker (my mom was the descendant).

 
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