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

Sat, Jan 27, 2024 09:00AM EST
Lot 330

Sarah Bushnell Perkins O/C, Portrait of Boy with Dog, c. 1800

Estimate: $2,400 - $2,800

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Sarah Bushnell Perkins (Connecticut, 1771-1831), aka The Beardsley Limner, oil on canvas half-length portrait of a long-haired boy petting a black and white dog that jumps playfully into view from beneath the painting's lower edge. Within a gold, oval tromp l'oeil border with ambiguous background. Circa 1800. Housed in a modern distressed gilt and ebonized wood frame in period style. Canvas: 30" H x 24 7/8" W. Frame: 35 3/16" H x 30 1/4" W.

Biographical note: Formerly known as the "Beardsley Limner," Sarah Perkins of Plainfield, CT was identified by scholars in 1984 as the person as the person responsible for fourteen portraits, primarily of her own family. Her portraits are distinguished by strong modeling and contrast with a flat appearance. She was also skillful in handling fabrics and texture, and increasingly moved toward a looser, painterly style with some abstraction in her cloth. Her level of formal art instruction is unknown; Perkins' father was a physician and the proprietor of the Plainfield Academy in Connecticut, and she may have had lessons there. The pastel portraits that she did when she was young suggest that she had lessons from Joseph Seward who lived near her family in Hampton, and she was socially connected to Yale University where she may have had some additional training.

Her mother died of tuberculosis when Perkins was twenty-four, and her father died four years later, leaving Perkins to care for the seven younger children. In 1801, she married General Lemuel Grosvenor, a widower with five children of his own. With the addition of several more children of her own, Perkins' total responsibility was sixteen children. (Source: "American Women Artists" by Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein).


Canvas has been relined. Repair with retouching to area of boy's collar, 4" x 4", plus scattered, minor retouching.

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Private South Carolina Collection, ex-Patrick Bell, Olde Hope Antiques; Bobbi and Ralph Terkowitz.