Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I am honored at this request; my great grandmother Carrie and her similarity to my Samuel Meeker portrait. My answer? Yes, of course.

I received an interesting email, see below.  Carrie [Martin] Cory, my great-grandmother, brought the Samuel Meeker portrait to California from New Jersey.  The portrait was passed to her through her father (Thomas Mulford Martin), both direct descendents of Phoebe Meeker (twin of Samuel who received the portrait as a gift on their 40ieth birthday.)  For more on Carrie's story and provenance of the painting, click here.   My great-grandfather Lewis Cory and wife Carrie Cory are of course in the history of provenance of the Meeker painting, as I am, now.
Does Carrie have an incredible resemblance to Samuel Meeker?  I say, yes!  It is simply astonishing.
After marrying Lewis, Carrie left New Jersey, to live in Fresno California.  Lewis was one of the first practicing attorneys there having received his law degree from Columbia.  She received the portrait because there was no male sibling, and her two sisters remained childless.
Phoebe Meeker was Carrie's great-grandmother.  Carrie is my great-grandmother.

Good morning,

Just looking through your blog again for a Gilbert Stuart boost for my day, observing his use of color on foreheads, cheeks, and eyes, which I think is the most obvious characteristic that we notice first when looking at a possible Stuart. 

The photo of Carrie Martin in your post from June 24, 2014 struck me as being lit and composed very much as Stuart would have set up a sitter for having a portrait done. The main difference I think is that her head is not turned quite as much as Stuart would have done, so her eyes are then turned more to look directly at the photographer. 

Which brings me to a question that you will probably think is odd. What would you say to the idea of a painting of Carrie in Stuart's style? I am an (amateur) artist - you can check out a few of my pieces on facebook - and doing a painting in Stuart's technique would be tremendous fun and great practice for me. I am not suggesting that you commission a work. It is just an idea that intrigues me, but I would not use your photograph for such a purpose without your permission.

If you are OK with the idea, I'll go ahead, though at a somewhat smaller size than Stuart would have done. Would you be able to tell me what color Carrie's hair and eyes probably were? In the photo, her hair looks light brown or auburn and her eyes look possibly light blue. 

Please let me know what you think.

Jeanne Grimsby


Yes Carrie's hair would have been auburn, and quite possibly her eyes were blue.  Her son (my grandfather Benjamin Hyde Cory) had blue eyes, as does my mother Carolyn [Cory] Ahrens. Ben and his daughter (my mom) are also in the provenance of the painting; another amazing story!  Although Ben could have inherited his blue eyes from Lewis.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

More evidence that Ruggles is a Stuart! and two other possible Stuarts...?

When determining if a portrait is in fact done by our master Gilbert Stuart, particularly when it is not mentioned in the Lawrence Park volumes (a set of 4 large books two of which provide black and white photographs of the portraits and two which give written descriptions and short bios), it helps to cement the attribution when the evidence piles up.
On April 27 I did a post on the individual Ruggles Whiting [click on this link], a writer [Elisha L. President Dover Historical society] wrote to me that he thought this portrait was a genuine Stuart.  I also thought it to be a genuine Stuart.

Elisha has found a copy of the will, and this portrait is mentioned as being "taken by Gilbert Stuart" [note the language, similar to photography].  This can be considered solid evidence!

"In researching Ruggles Whiting I recently found a copy of his will, written in 1816 and probated in 1827.  Page 3 contains the following statement:
“It is my will, and I do hereby give and bequeath to my beloved son Lucius R. Whiting my library, charts, globes, my wardrobe including my watch and all wearing apparel, my chess board and best set of chessmen, my portrait of myself taken by Gilbert Stuart Esq., my portrait of Ralph I. Reed, taken by the same artist before his decease, and all my sporting apparatus of every kind.”

Elisha points out that this will indicates that Ruggles owned another Stuart, and indeed a third Stuart. From the will: "“It is my will and I give and bequeath to the Government of the United States, my original portrait of Jacob Perkins Esquire of Newburyport, the great mechanical inventor, taken by Gilbert Stuart Esq. the celebrated American artist, to be placed in such part of the National Buildings, in the City of Washington, as the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States for the time being shall order and direct.”

Thus there should be a Stuart portrait of "Ralph Reed", and of "Jacob Perkins".  I will investigate this further~
The fact that Ruggles now seems to own THREE Stuart portraits, also is indirect evidence that the Ruggles portrait is a genuine Stuart, as Elisha pointed out in his note to me.
Thankyou, super sleuthing!
Also of note...this merchant was intellectual (library, globes, chess) and atheletic!

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