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…

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Putting faces to names

July 29, 2008 at 4:31 pm (portraits and paintings) (, )

Emma Austen-Leigh lived until 1876; at least one photograph of her (c1870) exists. Mary, Lady Smith, died in 1842 – at the dawn of the age of photography. So it is wonderful when something unexpected turns up, like a photograph, or in this case two photographs. One is of Mary’s nephew (son of Robert and Georgina); the other of the son-in-law she would have had had she lived twenty years longer.

Mary had two daughters: Mary Charlotte, nicknamed ‘Mimi’ in the diaries; and Augusta Elizabeth. Her son Charles Cunliffe Smith married a neighbor’s daughter, Agnes Capel Cure in 1855; Augusta married the Rev. Lawrence Capel Cure in 1857; and in 1861 Mimi married – at her Uncle Richard’s church in Kinwarton (Warks.) – Gaspard Le Marchant Tupper.

The interesting thing about Gaspard Le Marchant Tupper, in addition to this photograph (well explained on the website), is finding his name turning up in the Bahamas – as an artist of some latter-day note! His work has even been in a couple exhibitions held on the island.

Mary’s nephew, George Gosling, a member of the Scots Guards, was photographed in Montreal and this photograph is online at the Musée McCord! [A BIG surprise, as Montreal is only a 90-mile drive away. The photographer was William Notman, who had a studio on rue Bleury. (Read their article on Notman.)] George was born in November 1842, which means that Georgina was expecting while she worried about and nursed the sickening and dying Lady Smith.

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