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Narrow, rectangular format. Almost full-length portrait of a woman with gray dress, silver comb in her hair, gold chain and watch tucked in belt, seated letter in hand. Framed in simple modern wood frame. Wife of Arthur McArthur, Esq. (1991.1348.1), mother of Catherine McArthur (1991.1348.3), William Miltimore McArthur (1991.1348.4), and Arthur McArthur II (1991.1348.5).
oil paint (paint)
Oil on Canvas
"Cherished Possessions": Royall Brewster Smith passed his entire life in rural Maine, painting portraits and apparently houses and signs as well. In 1836 he painted these portraits of five members of the McArthur family of Limington, Maine. Twenty-five years after these were painted, the McArthur family was torn apart when the two brothers enlisted on opposite sides in the Civil War. Their sister Catherine abhorred the war, calling it fratricidal strife and describing her brother Arthur, who had enlisted in the Confederate army, as dear, noble, but mistaken. She schemed ways to get a letter across the lines to him, not knowing that he had already been killed. Catherine herself did not survive the war but died of heart failure in 1864.
Painted in yellow paint at base of image, on blue band: ""SARAH PRINCE M. MCARTHUR, BORN FEBRUARY 13TH, 1805/ PAINTED JUNE 1836 BY ROYALL B. SMITH"" On verso: 1-black pencil across upper stretcher reverse: ""SARAH PRINCE MCARTUR [sic] BORN 1805/DIED 1881"" 2- Upper left stretcher reverse, white label with typewritten entry: ""MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS/ BOSTON 15, MASSACHUSETTS carton 61/ S.E. 3594.4/ Artist: ROYALL BREWSTER SMITH/ Title: Mrs. Arthur McArthur/ Exhibition: Maine and its Artists/ Lender: Mr. and Mrs. Bertram K. Little/ Address: 305 Warren Street/ Brookline, 46, Mass"" 3- Upper left, above #2, in black charcoal? ""#3618"" 4- lower right stretcher reverse, red-bordered jelly label, blue script: ""Owned by/Mrs. B.K. Little/ 305 Warren St./Brookline/Mass.""
Original to Cogswell's Grant (Essex, Mass.),
Smith, Royall Brewster, 1801-1849 (Maker)
50.125 x 27 x 1.5 (HxWxD) (inches)
Gift of Bertram K. and Nina Fletcher Little
Maine (United States)
Limington (York county, Maine)