THE WORLD OF SAMUEL MEEKER, MERCHANT OF PHILADELPHIA, AND GILBERT STUART, AMERICAN PORTRAIT ARTIST
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
When I saw this statue in the garden of the villa Mount Pleasant on the Schuylkill, I wondered if it was once in...the villa garden of Fountain Green!
Below is the William Birch illustration of the country seat of Samuel Meeker on the Schuylkill River Philadelphia (courtesy of the River Print Department & Digital Collections Library Company of Philadelphia), the famed estate called Fountain Green. The estate, oringially comprising over 300 acres when first deeded to the Mifflin family by British royalty, was by now only about 25 acres but still maintaining substantial financial worth, considering its proximity to the river, and amid sizable increases in the price of real estate post revolution. (The canal was new and was not finished at the time. I have yet to understand the reason why this canal was built in the first place, and then taken away.) Just below the full depiction of Fountain Green is, in detail, the statue adorning the garden grounds. Look at it closely. Does it not look eerily similar to the statue I photographed in the garden of the neighboring villa Mount Pleasant, this summer? Here is my theory. When the villa Fountain Green burned, sometime in the 1870s, the owners of neighboring Mount Pleasant either bought at auction, or salvaged, the statue and put it in their garden. Is it an original piece from Samuel Meeker's days? I think it would be very difficult to find out... I will try! But, I think it is.
at 10:58 AM