Funny thing happened today…

July 6, 2009 at 1:45 pm (portraits and paintings) (, , , , , )

I received a lovely email from Eliza, who has been ‘saving’ and ‘rescuing’ items related to the Tupper family. One of the items turns out to be a sketchbook by Mimi Smith’s daughter (Mary Gosling’s grand-daughter), Florence. As a coincidence, this turn-up is slightly astounding. Gearing up for a couple of talks in Hyde Park, Vermont (in August and September), my topic is lady artists – those who would never have thought to make a living at what they did, but who enjoyed drawing and painting enough to do it quite well. Unless the sketches can be dated (Mimi’s portrait is surely based on a photograph of her – though it may have been done long after the photo was taken; especially since the face looks quite young and the year of her death is penned in beside the biographical information the artist saw fit to include), it’s difficult to guess how old little Florence would have been. But as it seems a lesson in drawing (pen and ink) and coloring (watercolor), based on existing pictures, she must have been fairly young. A teenager, perhaps.

I thank Eliza for sharing her ‘find’ with me! Just proves my point that we never know what will turn up in someone’s closet or attic or rubbish bin…


  1. Eliza O'Driscoll said,

    I suspect Florence was a little older than a teenager when she made the sketch as on the next page of the notebook there is a self-portrait of her in which she appears to be in her late teens or early twenties, and which seems to be copied from an professionally posed original. She was quite a beauty if the sketch is true to life. Lots of the Tuppers were keen amateur artists, and Florence’s father, Gaspard Le Marchant Tupper, was a well-known watercolourist himself so she inherited a family talent.

  2. Janeite Kelly said,

    Looking at what information I had on the Tuppers, and seeing in a Burke’s that the Gaspard Tuppers had only one child (Florence), she must have been born 11 July 1862 – for I found in Gentleman’s Magazine the following: “At Suttons, Essex, the wife of Major G. Le Marchant Tupper, R.H.A., a dau.” (Interesting, that she was at the home of her brother!)

    That would date the pictures – if Florence was, say, 20 years old – c1882.

    There’s something about the picture of Mimi that makes me wonder: Could it have been based on her engagement photograph, and therefore a good 20 years prior to Florence’s sketch??

    Mimi Smith (Florence’s mother) was said to have been sketched by Miss Fanny Corbaux; Miss Corbaux drew many in the family — and may have given lessons as well. So there are accomplished artists on BOTH sides of the family!

  3. Janeite Kelly said,

    Hi, Eliza – been TEN years, but if you see this comment at all, drop me a line. Some more artwork by Florence Le Marchant Tupper has surfaced, and I wanted to let you know! k

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