Portrait of a Woman

Collection Type

  • Art

Date

ca. 1845

GUSN

GUSN-60745

Description

Half-length, three-quarter view of a young woman with brown hair and gray eyes. Brown dress with red necktie, square neckpin. Dark wood frame.

Details

Descriptive Terms

portraits
paintings (visual works)
oil paint (paint)
supports (artists' materials)
Picture
Portrait
Portrait

Label

In the Blue Willow Room, nestled next to the door, is the hauntingly lovely portrait of a young girl. William Matthew Prior, now one of the most celebrated folk portrait painters of the nineteenth century, signed the back of this work, indicating it was done in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Prior, born in Bath, Maine in 1806, began painting professionally by age eighteen. It was his wife's family of Hamblen brothers that brought him the ability to expand his business, as they began working together as portrait artists in Portland then in Boston to form a significant body of work now known as the “Prior-Hamblen” school. This portrait of an unknown young lady is an excellent example of Prior's finer painting.
When the influential designer Henry Davis Sleeper purchased this painting for Beauport, his home on Eastern Point in Gloucester, Massachusetts, he was responding to an aesthetic that appealed to many of his contemporaries. The large flat swathes of color typical of nineteenth-century primitive paintings like this one paralleled the work of Modern artists of the early twentieth century.

Inscription

"W.M. Prior/Pawtucket/RI" (Black pencil script)
"Pair/No-/ 9352" (Pencil script)
"+ n, 8x =" (Pencil script)

Associated Building

Original to Beauport, Sleeper-McCann House (Gloucester, Mass.),

Maker

Prior, William Matthew, 1806-1873 (Artist)

Location of Origin

Rhode Island

Object Type

Art

Dimensions

15 5/8 x 11 5/8 (HxW) (inches)

Credit Line

Gift of Constance McCann Betts, Helena Woolworth Guest and Frasier W. McCann

Accession Number

1942.3559

Places

Rhode Island (United States)
Pawtucket (Providence county, Rhode Island)