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2024 Winter Fine Art, Antiques & Jewelry (Day 1)

Sat, Jan 27, 2024 09:00AM EST
Lot 327

Attrib. James Clonney O/C, Mother's Watch, c. 1855

Estimate: $2,400 - $2,800

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By or after James Goodwyn Clonney (England/New York, 1812-1867) oil on canvas painting entitled "Mother's Watch," c. 1855, depicting two boys tampering with their sleeping mother's pocket watch. One child focuses intently on the watch while the other grins mischievously at their mother, who has dozed off while knitting and reading. Illegibly signed or inscribed en verso. Housed in a period gilt wood frame with nameplate. Canvas: 26 1/2" H x 21" W. Frame: 34 3/4" H x 29 3/4" W.

Note: Clonney painted at least one other nearly identical painting, also unsigned, which appears in Patricia Hills's exhibition catalog accompanying the Whitney Museum of American Art's exhibition "The Painters' America: Rural and Urban Life, 1810-1910" (Praeger Publishers, New York: 1974) and is now in the collection of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, PA (1975.102).

Biographical Note: James Goodwyn Clonney was part of the first generation of American painters to specialize in genre painting. He was born in Liverpool, England, and came to America as a young man, by 1830. In 1833 he won second premium at the National Academy of Design in New York for a drawing and was made an associate member of the Academy in 1834. He continued to work mainly in New York State, exhibiting portraits, landscapes and miniatures there for the next seven years, and by 1841 had ventured into genre scenes which he displayed at the the Apollo Association, the Pennsylvania Academy, and the American Art Union. Clonney is known for his tight, fine brushstrokes and attention to detail and scenes that are amusing or entertaining in nature. Many of his genre scenes were reproduced in lithographs of the period. Several of his works are in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (Karolik Collection), the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute. Source: James Goodwyn Clonney: American Genre Painter (American Art Journal, Vo. 11, no. 4, Oct. 1979).


Overall very good condition. Canvas has been relined, with section of original canvas left visible under plastic to reveal inscription en verso. With scattered, minor retouching, largest area to mother's neck, 1" L. Frame with moderate abrasions and gilt loss.

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Private South Carolina Collection; Brunk Auctions, January 28, 2018, lot 804; Sotheby's, June 6, 1997, lot 245 A; Gen. Samuel Spring Carroll, Baltimore, MD, to his daughter Nancy Carroll Beale, Annapolis, MD, descended through Beale family.