Southern oil on canvas oval bust portrait of Ann (Anne) Coleman Overton Brinkley of Tennessee (1823-1845), daughter of Judge John Overton of Nashville, depicting the sitter with dark hair and blue eyes and attired in a blue drape against a background of darkening pink clouds. Unsigned. Housed in a pierced giltwood frame with oval gilt mat having carved Neo-Grec style corner vignettes and beaded molding. Sight: 26 1/2" H x 21" W. Framed: 41" H x 25 1/2" W. 19th century. Note: this painting is a late 19th century copy of a now-missing portrait miniature painted by John Wood Dodge (New York/ Tennessee, 1807-1893), as recorded in his account book for 1841. It may well be by Dodge himself, copying his own earlier work. Ann (Anne) Coleman Overton Brinkley was the daughter of Judge John Overton, co-founder of Memphis, and his wife, Mary McConnell White Overton, and she grew up at their home, Traveller's Rest, in Nashville. At age 18, the same year this image was created by Dodge as a miniature portrait, she married Robert Campbell Brinkley, a successful young lawyer who would go on to become a railroad and development tycoon in Memphis. Tragically, Ann died less than four years later, giving birth to the couple's second child, Anne (Annie) Overton Brinkley (later Snowden, 1845-1923; whose circa 1890-1900 portrait is also in this auction). The Brinkleys' first child, son, Hugh Lawson White Brinkley (1842-1904), grew up to became a champion for women's causes and funded the building of the Anne Brinkley Home for Working Women in Memphis, dedicated to his mother. Although this portrait descended in the Brinkley-Snowden family without an artist attribution and is unsigned, it is certainly a later copy of the 1841 Dodge miniature, and there is a good possibility that this full sized oil painting was painted by John Wood Dodge in replication of his own earlier miniature. Dodge learned his craft in New York and came to Nashville around 1840, where he worked as a portrait painter to many of the city's most prominent citizens. When the Civil War broke out, Dodge returned to New York City, where he continued painting and was a member of the National Academy for many years. In 1889, he returned to his farm in Pomona, Tennessee, and continued to take a few commissions from area patrons (including at least one Overton - ref. the Colonial Dames Portrait Project, Mrs. Jackson May Overton). In his article on Dodge in the Spring, 2000 issue of the Tennessee Historical Quarterly, author Raymond White writes, "After the Civil War caused his removal to the North, Dodge is known to have painted full sized oil portraits and it is possible that he painted them before the war as well. A portrait of Milberry Donelson MacGregor, a granddaughter of Col. John Donelson, in a descendant's collection in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1969 (sic?), has been attributed to Dodge and appears (in photographs) to be of high enough quality to be his work)." It is likely that this oil portrait of Ann Coleman Overton Brinkley, based on Dodge's miniature, was commissioned by her daughter Annie Snowden around 1890. Although Annie Snowden had means and access to a number of good portrait painters including Carl Gutherz of Memphis and the Cooper Brothers (Washington and William) of Nashville, she may have hired Dodge to recreate his own original skillful work, this time in a larger format, placing Ann against a cloud background to convey the tragedy of her early death. Note: this portrait is one of several items that descended in the Brinkley-Snowden family of Memphis being offered in this auction, including other paintings, silver, and ephemera.
Overall very good condition. Retouching to area above sitter's shoulders on right and left side and lower center margin.
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