American School, 18th Century
Portrait of Abigail Rose, North Branford, Connecticut, 1786, at the Age of Fourteen. Unsigned. Oil on canvas, the sitter wears a locket depicting a soldier-like figure in a red jacket, and is seated beside a table on which rests a music book opened to a piece titled Amity and Psalm, a Battersea box, and two closed books;
37 3/4 x 36 1/4 in., in a later molded wood frame. Condition: Well-preserved original condition.
Provenance: Family descent to the late wife of the consignor.
Exhibitions: According to family oral history this painting was exhibited at the Old Stone House in Guilford, Connecticut, in the 1930s when the owner at the time was a resident of Norwalk, Connecticut.
Note: The portrait is sold with the floral enameled Battersea patch box portrayed in the painting, Abigail's prayer book, an early 20th century handwritten label identifying Abigail in the portrait, which states the portrait was "...painted by a young man from New Haven in payment for board, hung for years in the Rose homestead at North Branford...," several letters of family correspondence, and numerous family documents including deeds and receipts.
According to the 1800 Census of Branford, Connecticut, which was transcribed and annotated by Jane Peterson Bouley, Town Historian of Branford, and information gleaned from the family correspondence, Abigail Rose was the first child of four children born to Justus Rose (1732-1810) and his wife Lydia (Russell). She was born on September 9, 1772, in North Branford, Connecticut. She married Beverly Monroe (1772-1803) also of North Branford, on June 14, 1792. They had at least one son, named Frederick, and at some point after Beverly died in 1803, but before the 1810 census, the widow Abigail married Hezekiah B. Clark. Hezekiah died in 1827.
This portrait is stylistically similar to a pair of portraits of Mr. and Mrs. James Blakeslee Reynolds of West Haven, Connecticut, which were offered at Sotheby's, The Bertram K. Little and Nina Fletcher Little Collection, New York, January, 29, 1994, lot 75.
Remarkably excellent state of preservation, shows no sign of inpainting, cleaning, or re-lining. It shows empty tacking holes along the top and bottom of the painting from the previous original frame, it has stable craquelure and minor surface grime.